“At this residential school and others like it across the country, churches and governments eradicated Indigenous languages and identity through corrupt policies. They took away our stories,” she said. “It’s unimaginable that a place of learning was so cruel. It’s inexcusable that people could commit these atrocities, or that people could stand silent as they were committed.”

“Today, we make ourselves heard across the country. Although it is hard, we are telling Canadians and the world about our wounds and pain,” Mary Simon, the Queen’s representative in Canada, told hundreds gathered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian residential school.

A year ago, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of nearly 200 possible unmarked graves on the grounds. The announcement sent shockwaves through the country, prompting the federal government to establish a national holiday and promise millions of dollars to other Indigenous nations launching their own investigations.

Within months, other possible unmarked graves were discovered on the grounds of former residential schools in western Canada, including 751 at the site of the Marieval Indian school in Saskatchewan.

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