Murray Sinclair, the former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, has called for an impartial review of all burial sites surrounding old residential schools. On Thursday, he told a House of Commons committee that such an investigation should not be carried out by the federal government, but rather by a parliamentary committee that will ensure that it is carried out properly.
He believes there are too many unresolved questions, such as how many burial sites are there in Canada, where they are, and how many children are buried there. Last week, the Tk’emlps te Secwépemc First brevealed that early findings from a scan undertaken by a ground-penetrating radar specialist suggested that the bones of roughly 215 children may be buried on the site.
The RCMP is also investigating, according to Sinclair, who was told Thursday morning “a list of the bodies discovered in Kamloops They are now questioning people who have made this information public.” Sinclair slammed the RCMP’s involvement, accusing them of “intimidating” those involved in the search and claiming that Mounties should “not be pursuing those who are exposing information,” such researchers.
The local RCMP detachment confirmed in a written statement that it has opened a police case, but that the inquiry is still being led by the local First Nations band. Last week, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation said that ground-penetrating radar had discovered the remains of 215 children at an unmarked burial place on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The report on Canada’s residential school system by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recounts the severe maltreatment of Indigenous children at the government-funded, church-run institutions, where at least 4,100 children died in an environment of neglect, according to current research. About the last week, Sinclair has heard from roughly 200 residential school survivors who have expressed their anguish and displeasure over the news from Kamloops. He believes it is critical to get the whole truth for both the survivors and their families, as well as the families of those who worked there.