The following story contain details some readers might find distressing.
After an announcement on Tuesday revealed the discovery of 93 potential graves of children buried around the site of a former residential school near Williams Lake, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen Board of Directors and staff, shared condolences with the Indigenous community.
“The discovery of the remains highlights the damaging and lasting impacts of the residential school system and its intergenerational impacts on Indigenous families and communities,” the RDOS wrote in their statement.
The former Residential School was operational from 1891 to 1981.
Chief Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nation said Tuesday that only excavation would confirm the presence of human remains. So far, 14 of 470 hectares around the former school have been examined as part of a process to discover what happened to children who did not return home.
“This is another painful reminder of the trauma caused by the residential school system,” RDOS Chair Mark Pendergraft said in the release. “The RDOS extends its support to our Indigenous neighbours as they mourn and honour those lost.”
Support is available for anyone affected by residential schools. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour Indian Residential School Survivors Society crisis support line at 1-800-721-0066.