Another First Nation in Canada is grieving after unmarked graves were found near another former residential school.
As Dan Karpenchuk reports, ground penetrating radar has identified the possible remains of 40 unmarked graves.
The site is the former St. Augustine’s Residential School operated between 1904 and 1975.
Children from more than 50 First Nations attended the school northwest of Vancouver, on what is called the Sunshine Coast.
The Shishalh First Nation is the latest band to reveal the results of probes into children who had disappeared while attending residential schools.
Lenora Joe is the chief of the First Nation.
“The GPR identifies 40 unmarked children’s graves. Shallow graves. Only large enough for the young bodies to lay in a fetal position. We have spent the past few years following the truth of our elders through the investigation.”
The research also involved interviews with residential school survivors and records of documented historical events. Some researchers say they believe there are many more unmarked graves at the site.
Although much of area has been disturbed and developed since it lies in the middle of municipality of Sechelt.
Joe says the community is in mourning as members and survivors process news of the discovery.
She has asked for privacy for the First Nation to give people time to heal.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission said parents took their children out of St. Augustine’s, protesting against poor education, harsh discipline and a poor diet.
Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) is releasing more federal money for conservation and wildlife projects, including those helping tribes.
Chuck Quirmbach of public station WUWM reports Sec. Haaland spoke to a journalists conference Friday in Idaho.
Sec. Haaland marked Earth Day by telling the Society of Environmental Journalists that she is setting aside $140 million in federal funds for water conservation and efficiency projects
“Funding for 84 projects spanning 15 western states will go to irrigation in water districts, states, tribes, and other entities. This projects are expected to conserve over 230,000 acre feet of water when completed.”
That’s enough to cover 230,000 football fields in a foot of water.
Sec. Haaland also announced $35 million for 39 new fish passage projects on rivers and streams in 22 states.
The Interior Secretary says those efforts should help migration of fish, including salmon.
Under questioning from a reporter, Sec. Haaland also re-committed to the concept of stewardship agreements with tribes for management of public lands.
She says ancestral homelands must be protected. regardless of which federal agency essentially owns the land.
“It still is regarded as an ancestral homeland and as a sacred place for Native Americans. We recognize that, and why we feel so strongly about these stewardship agreements.”
Sec. Haaland says tribes in Idaho, Virginia, and Utah are already providing Indigenous knowledge to help manage public lands and waters.
Sec. Haaland and leaders of the Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management also told reporters that several contentious water, and wildlife topics are still being studied and discussed.
Some announcements may come from the Biden Administration before the 2024 election.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs will hold a virtual listening session to discuss updating the Indian Arts and Crafts Act.
Senators will examine amending the act to support creative economies, and strengthen enforcement and protections against counterfeit Native art.
The session is scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.
Register for the listening session here.
Livestream at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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