The Saskatchewan Advocate for Children and Youth has extended her condolences to the Star Blanket Cree Nation following the recent discovery of an unidentified child’s remains on the site of the former Qu’Appelle Indian Residential School near Lebret, Sask.
On Jan. 12, Star Blanket Cree Nation leadership announced that over 2,000 anomalies were found by ground penetrating radar on the site of the former residential school, but not all are believed to be unmarked graves. Sheldon Poitras, Star Blanket’s ground search project leader, confirmed that in Oct. of 2022, a jawbone fragment belonging to a young child between five and six years old was discovered on the site that they have dated to be around 125 years old.
“Our hearts go out to the community members of Star Blanket Cree Nation and all those impacted by these unsettling revelations,” said Lisa Broda. “We can only hope these discoveries provide more information about children and loved ones who never came home and also help the ongoing healing process for Star Blanket First Nation and all nations who are left with the tragic consequences of residential schools.”
Broda said she and the Saskatchewan Children’s Advocate staff are saddened to hear of the discovery and acknowledge the ongoing and emotionally challenging work that lies ahead for the project team.
“Since 2021 we have learned about several disturbing burial discoveries on or near former residential school sites involving children, and it continues to be disheartening as more of this country’s dark history is, and will continue to be, exposed over the next several months and years,” stated Broda.
The Advocate for Children and Youth office is encouraging Canadians to be aware of the history of residential schools and the many calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that have yet to be implemented, including those meant to address the lack of information about the burial of missing children who never came home from residential schools.