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160 unmarked graves discovered at Indigenous boarding school in Canada

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 3:55 AM AKDT
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PENELAKUT ISLAND, British Columbia (CNN) - A survivor’s story is offering insight after 160 unmarked graves were found at a residential school in Canada.

The Penelakut tribe chief said the remains were discovered on British Columbia’s Penelakut Island, where the Kuper Island Industrial School educated Indigenous students from 1890 to 1975.

This comes after similar findings at other Indigenous boarding schools with a reputation for abuse in Canada, including an estimated 215 unmarked graves found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Former Kuper Island student Eddy Charlie said he remembers seeing more and more empty beds and lunchroom seats, but he said he’s shocked at the discovery.

“As a student, I used to sit in the cafeteria and see the empty tables and wonder where all the students were disappearing to,” he said. “And when we were going up to our living unit, I used to see a few beds, and I got really curious where the boys were going to because I knew they weren’t letting any of us go home. So … and then when I got the news about the 160 graves found on Kuper Island, I stopped wondering. I knew where they were now.”

The discovery includes 39 more bodies at the school than records had suggested.

Copyright 2021 CNN Newsource. All rights reserved. Gray Media Group, Inc., contributed to this report.