'It should be treated like a crime scene': Manitoba being called on to search all residential school grounds
WINNIPEG -- Provinces throughout the country, including Manitoba are being called upon to search all residential school grounds for burial sites after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found in Kamloops, B.C.
As the calls include the federal and provincial governments helping with the search, school survivors and First Nations leaders say the potential that there are more gravesites has been known for years.
"Well, there's a lot of residential school sites here in the province, so there may be, I mean that's the general feeling of a lot of residential school survivors," said Chief Dennis Meeches.
Meeches is the chief of Long Plain First Nation, which owns the former residential school in Portage la Prairie.
He said anytime there is a new development on the property, a sonar device is used first to look deep into the ground just in case.
Meeches said the technology is expensive and he wants help from governments.
"It should be treated like a crime scene. We believe that more works needs to be done. A lot of undocumented children that perished at these schools."
At the Manitoba Legislature, a memorial has been set up outside to recognize the children who lost there lives.
Martina Fisher, a residential school survivor, was at the Legislature on Monday.
"I was crying off and on all day just thinking about all the parents, all the people," said Fisher.
She said she has been helping other survivors over the last 11 years and she has heard the stories about the schools.
"I was aware that children were being buried around the school area, in the bushes, in the grounds."
Inside the Legislature NDP MLA Ian Bushie asked the provincial government if it will financially support searching burial sites.
Eileen Clarke, the Indigenous and Northern Relations Minister, said the province could help as part of Manitoba's reconciliation strategy.
"The issue in regards to what we are looking at today as to the burial of these young children near residential schools, I'm sure will be addressed in (the strategy)," said Clarke during Question Period.
Locating the remains in Kamloops was done as part a provincial grant in B.C.