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‘Evidence of genocide’ found at residential school site in Saddle Lake Cree Nation: advocacy group

The organization investigating the missing children and unmarked burials connected to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School in Saddle Lake Cree Nation says it has “physical and documented evidence of genocide.”

The Acimowin Opaspiw Society (AOS) is announcing the release of its first preliminary report at 1 p.m. Tuesday. Global News has a crew attending the announcement at the Sacred Heart Cemetery.

The group said its findings “will have far-reaching implications in government, in media and in every residential school investigation in Canada.”

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Saddle Lake Cree Nation accidentally unearthed partial remains at the site of the former residential school in May 2022. Saddle Lake Cree Nation is located in central Alberta.

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At a media event on May 18, community members said since around 2004 people have been accidently uncovering unmarked graves.

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Last year, and following the announcement that more than 200 potential burial sites were detected at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, Saddle Lake Cree Nation formed the AOS to investigate possible burial sites.

Eric Large, a residential school survivor, is leading the investigation. He said he unexpectedly uncovered human remains in August 2017 while doing work excavating new grave sites at the Saddle Lake community cemetery.

“I came across some small bones, Large told reporters on May 18, 2022. “For myself, I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do.”

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Large previously said Catholic Church records obtained by the society show 212 children died at the school.

Click to play video: 'Radar search reveals 171 ‘plausible burials’ near Ontario residential school'

Radar search reveals 171 ‘plausible burials’ near Ontario residential school

The Saddle Lake Blue Quills site was in operation from 1898-1931. It was called Sacred Heart Residential School and nicknamed Blue Quills, since it was on the Blue Quills Reserve.

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

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