Like his mother Cecile and Aunt Mabel before him, Leander Strikes With A Gun was sent to Sacred Heart Residential School southeast of Brocket, Alta.
Mabel died at the school when she was four, one year after she first stepped foot in the school, and was buried somewhere on the grounds.
Cecile spent years searching for her sister but never found the grave.
“All she remembers is by the fence, but not which fence,” Strikes With A Gun said.
“All she says is: ‘My sister is laying down there somewhere.'”
Cecile passed away in 1981, but now, 40 years later, her family may finally get some answers.
The Piikani Nation is using LiDAR technology to map the land for a climate change project.
LiDAR can see through vegetation foliage and map surface terrain, possibly uncovering old disturbances.
The discovery of 215 children in unmarked burial sites at a residential school in Kamloops, B.C., has the Piikani Nation shifting the technology to search former residential school sites.
“A LiDAR flyover of the four sites where former residential schools were located,” Piikani Nation lands department manager Noreen Plain Eagle said. “Once completed, the dead will be disclosed to the Piikani chief, council and Piikani Nation members.”
The first step will be information gathering before the search is completed in July.
“Completing interviews within our community, of stories related to each of the sites, so we have a clear identification of the areas surrounding the schools,” Plain Eagle said.
Strikes With A Gun hopes the search will uncover what his mother couldn’t.
“As her children, I want to know what happened. Maybe her spirit will rest then.”
Anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience can access this 24-hour, toll-free and confidential National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.