The tragic discovery of the bodies of 215 children buried in an unmarked grave on the grounds of a boarding school in Kamloops, British Columbia, calls for further investigation into other possible boarding school burial sites. Masu.
On the outskirts of Brandon, there are 54 tombs believed to be buried under the current Turtle Crossing campground. The area is located on the northwestern side of the city, just off the Grand Valley Road, along the Assiniboine River.
Sou Valley Dakota First Nations states that the tomb was identified through archaeological studies, archived documents, and survivor testimony.
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Now there is a new demand for the city to buy back the land with the tomb and protect the area. Jennifer Moore Ratley, Chief Operating Officer of the Southern Chiefs Organization, is burying her family in a graveyard. She has been asking the city to buy back land since 2018.
“You can literally park in your ancestor’s grave and spend your vacation,” said Moore Ratley.
“David Moore was seven years old when he died and survived three months at Brandon’s boarding school. Aunt Lydia, her sister, was thirteen years old and survived one year at school.
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“That is, the fact that they were stolen from their families, the fact that they died as a result of attending a boarding school, and the ultimate humiliation are not the deaths that they gained peace, nor even the peaceful deaths, they. Because he is a camper on vacation on the place where he was buried.
“There is no community other than the First Nations people that is so despised. So I have to do this right. My mom is gone. She will be horrified. So she And for David, Lydia and everyone else, I have to correct this. “
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Moore Ratley wants the city to buy back some of its land, and families and the Sou Valley Dakota First Nations can establish the right way to protect the area and honor lost lives. I can do it.
“Canada is better than this, Manitoba is better than this, and Brandon is better than this,” she said, noting that no land was sold under the current administration.
“I need to see more than words, I need to see actions. What the city of Brandon should do is to recognize that they have made a mistake (and all the land they have sold). Not to buy the land, but to make it accessible to the family, to pray for us, and to stop smoking.
“What type of monument, what space do you see, is it a park so that the site is safe and secure and you can have a little space to take a break together to decide what happens there? ??
“But you don’t have to make that decision right away. All we have to do is protect the graveyard and protect those relics.”
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“This must be First Nations-led.”
Brandon Mayor Rick Crest said the city has worked with campsite owners and Sou Valley Dakota First Nations to find a solution over the years. He also COVID-19. He also states that progress has been delayed due to the pandemic of. He says the city is looking for direction from First Nations.
“Brandon’s view on this is that we want to set the direction for First Nations in line with First Nations cultural practices,” Crest told Global News.
“This needs to be led by First Nations. We have built a great partnership with Sou Valley, but soon the solution for the most dignified and appropriate reconciliation for these children. I’m sure you’ll get. “
When it comes to buying back land, Mr. Crest says it’s not worth considering.
“We believe it is important to follow their cultural practices and the wishes of their families and local communities,” he said.
“And the next step is with respect to the purchase, who should own it — should it be a city, the first country, or return to the federal hands — some of these issues Needs to be resolved, and soon “
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According to Chrest, the area was formerly owned by the city, known as Corran Park, and formerly had a memorial area. He had a provision to keep the burial ground when the city first sold the land about 20 years ago, but it has been lost since then.
“There was a provision to leave the (was) burial ground as it was. (Some of it was there because the markings were not preserved as they were due to the change of ownership and the severe flooding in the area. It was to reestablish things, “he said, adding that the burial area covers about three-quarters.
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In a YouTube statement posted earlier this week, Jennifer Bourne, chief of First Nations in North Dakota, believes there are 104 potential tombs in the area, but said it was a graveyard. He said that only 78 were explained through the burial record.
“Families and communities where their children are missing while attending these schools have questions that deserve answers,” she said. “Children buried in these places must regain their identities and tell their stories.
“They will never be forgotten. Every child is important.”
In a statement, Bourne said he had identified another graveyard on the land currently owned by the Brandon Research Center, the other being believed to be on First Nations land.
Moore Rattray says further investigation of what appears to be a burial site can provide some comfort to families who have endured so many traumas.
“Like my family, I know David died, Lydia died. I don’t know why, but they didn’t go home. So so many families It’s really traumatic for me, “said Moore Ratley.
“Our strength is astounding. We have survived 500 years of colonization. We have survived 100 years of boarding school. We are resilient and this You can get over it. We get over this. But now is a really difficult time, but knowing where the kids are makes it easier.
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“The city of Brandon needs to be aware that it did something wrong and, as an act of reconciliation, it needs to buy back the land,” she added.
“I have to do the right thing because I got the financial benefit of selling the graveyard with the bodies of my loved ones. Brandon can do this, and then we all breathe. You can rest and understand what happens. But at least we spend the nights and days worried about spending a camper with our family or vacationing for our loved ones. You don’t have to spend it. “
The Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for those who experience pain or distress as a result of their Residential School experience.
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Calls on Brandon to buy back a school graveyard residential area (currently RV campsite)
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