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Backpacks line steps of legislative building to represent unmarked graves

Hundreds of backpacks line the steps of the provincial legislative building to represent unmarked graves found at residential schools. Tyler Marr / Global News

Some have superheroes. Others, animal patterns.

But each backpack on the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislative Building is a grim reminder of the unmarked graves found near the Marieval Residential School in late June.

Prairie Crowe spearheaded the project. She started with just a few dozen bags, not thinking she would reach her goal.

But on the eve of July 1, exactly 751 laid bare the recent discovery.

Read more: Canada Day arrives as country reels from residential school discoveries

She described the swell of support as remarkable, saying it shows the community understands the gravity of the situation. Many who have come by to either take in the display or drop off a backpack have expressed grief or shared their own stories.

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“I would like people to acknowledge this has happened and these are only the numbers from one school … More are coming,” she said. “Stand with us in our grief and be present is what I would ask of people.”

In the coming days, Crowe said most of the bags will be filled with school supplies and are expected to be donated to children living on reserve and in the inner city. Others will be donated to other local charities.

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