158 missing children died at former residential school sites and hospital in BC

The Stó:lō Nation in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley has made a heart-wrenching revelation in its investigation into missing children and unmarked burials at former institutions. 

They have identified 158 children who died at, or because they attended three former residential school sites and one former hospital. 

The Nation shared these tragic revelations during a public update at Pekw’xe:yles (St. Mary’s Residential School).

Of the 158 children who died,

  • 37 died at the Coqualeetza Industrial Institute/Residential School in Chilliwack, 
  • 20 died at St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission
  • 5 died at All Hallow School in Yale, and 
  • 96 children (between the ages of five and twenty) perished at the Coqualeetza Indian Hospital. 

Most of the deaths (133 out of 158) resulted from illnesses such as tuberculosis and pneumonia, with 79 attributed to tuberculosis at Coqualeetza Indian Hospital. The causes of the remaining 21 deaths are still unknown.

Cyril Pierre, a survivor of St. Mary’s Indian Residential School, expressed, “This isn’t a victory. This isn’t a win. This is justice. This is a validation of what me and my people have gone through in residential schools driven by the government with the backbone of the church.”

The Stó:lō Nation’s revelations shed light on the grim history of emotional, physical, sexual, and psychological abuse, along with neglect and malnourishment within these institutions. 

Survivors’ accounts have revealed horrifying details, including children being killed, secretive burials, cremations, and forced labour. The Nation calls for increased funding and transparency to support this vital work.

Source: CBC News

 

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