Six ‘anomalies’ found in Pine Creek, Man. may potentially be unmarked graves: First Nation

Another First Nation in Manitoba says a ground search has revealed six anomalies that could potentially be unmarked graves.

On Wednesday evening, Minegoziibe Nation of Treaty 2 Territory (Pine Creek First Nation) announced a ground-penetrating radar search by B.C.-based company AltoMaxx had been completed at the beginning of May.

The results of the search were shared with members on Monday.

“The search revealed six anomalies that could potentially be unmarked graves,” the First Nation said in a news release.

“Minegoziibe Nation Leadership has requested that AltoMaxx return for a more comprehensive search of the area in the hopes of confirming the data in more detail.”

It said the second search is set to get underway on June 20.

The Catholic-run Pine Creek Residential School had been operating in the First Nation for decades, opening in 1890. According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, many students tried running away from the school due to the discipline and homesickness.

After nearly 80 years, the school was closed in 1969.

The discovery of the ground anomalies comes days after Sagkeeng First Nation identified 190 anomalies in the ground. Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson said the anomalies are disturbances in the soil that could fit the criteria for unmarked burial sites, but it is too early to say for sure.

He said the First Nation leadership is working with community pipe carriers to decide on next steps, and asked for patience as work is underway to determine the nature of the anomalies.

If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419. Additional mental-health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here.

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