WARNING: This story contains distressing details.
The Catholic religious order that operated residential schools in Saskatchewan and British Columbia where hundreds of unmarked graves have been found says it will disclose all historical documents in its possession.
The Missionary of Oblates of Mary Immaculate operated 48 schools, including the Marieval Indian Residential School in the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C.
On Thursday, the Cowessess First Nation announced the preliminary discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation said last month a preliminary scan had detected the remains of an estimated 215 children near the former residential school in Kamloops.
The news sparked public outcry for full transparency from clergy involved in the residential school system.
The religious group had previously said it would release records pertaining to the institution in Kamloops, but Thursday’s statement marked a “formal committal” to disclose records from all schools with which it was involved.
Father Ken Thorson, leader of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, says his order has agreed to turn over school records kept in hand-written diaries, as soon as digital copies can be made. “The work of this transfer I hope will begin soon,” he said. <a href=”https://t.co/sOvkssT6aQ”>https://t.co/sOvkssT6aQ</a> <a href=”https://t.co/KoP8Vre78L”>pic.twitter.com/KoP8Vre78L</a>
“We remain deeply sorry for our involvement in residential schools and the harms they brought to Indigenous peoples and communities,” said a statement.
Indigenous leaders and others have been calling for the release of all documents related to residential schools.
In the statement, the oblates said they have worked to make historical documents available through universities, archives and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
They said the work is not complete because of complications with provincial and national privacy laws. They asked for guidance from organizations familiar with those laws.
“We further acknowledge that delays can cause ongoing distrust, distress and trauma to Indigenous peoples across British Columbia, Saskatchewan and the rest of the country,” the statement said.
The oblates said they won’t block access to historical documents they have. They also committed to seeking guidance from First Nations and governments.
“We will work with bishops and other leaders in the Catholic Church to support full truth in these matters.”
Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential school and those who are triggered by the latest reports.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
View original article here Source