B.C. First Nation says 17 suspected grave sites detected at residential school

The chief of Vancouver Island’s Tzeshat First Nation said ground penetrating radar detected 17 suspected cemeteries around the site of the former Albani Indian Residential School.

Brian Whiting, geophysics department manager at GeoScan, the company that conducted the scan, said it was the lowest number of graves believed to be on 12 of the 100 hectares surveyed since last summer.

Interviews with survivors, historical records, and other documents also show that 67 students died at school, many of them from medical conditions, the state said.

Lead researcher Sheri Medding, who conducted the study using historical records and survivor statements, says many of those children died of the condition.

At least 70 children from indigenous communities around BC attended the school during its operation from 1900 to 1973.

The Port Alberni site is the latest in a search of several locations in Canada for possible unmarked graves of children who died while forced to attend boarding school.

This report by the Canadian Press was first published on February 21, 2023.

If you are a former boarding school student in need or are affected by the boarding school system and need help, call the 24-hour Indian Boarding School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 or Indian Boarding Schools. You can contact the school. The Survivor’s Society toll-free number is 1-800-721-0066.

Additional Mental Health Support and Resources Are Available for Indigenous Peoples here.

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