Ottawa, March 30: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit First Nation in B.C. Wednesday where an investigation is underway into dozens of potential burial sites at a former residential school.
Trudeau will stop at the Williams Lake First Nation to meet with residential school survivors and other members of the community. Trudeau, along with the federal minister of Crown-Indigenous relations, will also meet with the chief of the nation and its council members and elders.
The meeting comes just two months after a presentation on an initial investigation at the site of St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School, which revealed ground-penetrating radar had uncovered 93 “reflections.”
Those reflections may indicate the remains of dozens of people as the area examined contained 50 potential burials that are not associated with known graves.
On Tuesday, Trudeau said he’s looking forward to the meeting and engaging with the community on Canada’s commitment to the goals of reconciliation.
“The discovery of unmarked graves at residential school sites across this country has highlighted for all Canadians the horrors of our past for which we all bear a certain responsibility, but it’s also reawaken deep, deep wounds and trauma amongst Indigenous peoples,” he said from Vancouver.
“We need to show that we are there with them, to walk with them on the path of healing and reconciliation and build a better future for us all.”
The school in Williams Lake is one of several sites in Canada being examined.
Last year, a search prompted by the discovery of a child’s rib bone found on the property of what was once Canada’s largest residential school, uncovered what are believed to be approximately 200 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. That investigation is still ongoing.
Since then, potential graves have been uncovered elsewhere, including at former residential school sites near the B.C. communities of Alert Bay and Port Alberni.