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‘Not a proud part of Canadian history’: Premier Scott Moe on Keeseekoose unmarked graves discovery

Click to play video: 'Unmarked graves discovered at former residential schools at Saskatchewan First Nation'
Unmarked graves discovered at former residential schools at Saskatchewan First Nation
Keeseekoose First Nation leaders say they have detected 54 potential unmarked graves at the sites of two former residential schools in eastern Saskatchewan – Feb 16, 2022

Premier Scott Moe said his governments’ thoughts are with the people of Keeseekoose First Nation after they announced the discovery of unmarked graves near two former residential schools.

“This history is not a proud part of Canadian history but it is also one that we all need to participate in to truly move forward and move forward together,” Moe said on Wednesday.

Read more: Unmarked graves discovered at former residential schools at Saskatchewan First Nation

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Keeseekoose First Nation said on Tuesday there were 54 hits from ground-penetrating radar on the grounds of the former Fort Pelly and St. Phillips residential schools near Kamsack, Sask.

Ted Quewezance, the former chief of the First Nation and a residential school survivor said the locations scanned were identified by survivors and knowledge keepers from oral history.

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“Ground-penetrating radar simply validated our oral history,” he said Tuesday.

Click to play video: 'Keeseekoose First Nation criticizes Trudeau’s lack of action following discovery of possible unmarked graves at the site of former residential schools'
Keeseekoose First Nation criticizes Trudeau’s lack of action following discovery of possible unmarked graves at the site of former residential schools

Quewezance said there were 42 hits at Fort Pelly and 12 hits at St. Philips. There could be more graves but searches were put on pause due to snow.

The provincial government partnered with the FSIN last year to provide $2 million to be used for the resources needed to identify where the unmarked graves are and who they belong to.

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Quewezance said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s apology “didn’t come from the heart” and “was just politics.”

“There wasn’t a next step to his apology,” Quewezance said.

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Following the announcement on Tuesday, Trudeau called the news “profoundly heartbreaking.”

“To the members of the community: We are here for you,” Trudeau said in a tweet.

“There are no words that can convey the pain, trauma, and many other emotions that are felt in moments like this. It is by telling the truth that we will honour and lift up the memory of those who never came home from these so-called schools.”

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

— with files from David Giles

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