Montreal Will Lower Its Flags For The 751 Graves Found At A Former Residential School

Mayor Plante & Premier Legault responded to news of unmarked graves found in Saskatchewan.
Montreal Will Lower Its Flags For The 751 Graves Found At A Former Residential School

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said flags at city hall would be at half-mast on June 25, following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near a former residential "school" in Saskatchewan.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society Emergency Crisis Line is available across Canada 24/7. Those who may need support can call 1-866-925-4419.

In a tweet, Plante said that her "heart [was] broken" following the announcement, made by Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme and Federation of Sovereign Indian Nations Chief Bobby Cameron.

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The graves were found near the former Marieval Indian Residential School, approximately two hours by car from Regina, which operated between 1899 and 1997 and was run by the Roman Catholic Church.

Quebec Premier François Legault called the finding "shocking and sad" in a tweet on June 24.

A few days prior, Legault said he was "not in favour" of instituting a statutory holiday dedicated to Indigenous peoples but said the province is currently coordinating with the federal government to research residential "schools" in Quebec.

Residential schools were facilities created by the Canadian government and run by churches from the 1830s until 1996. Indigenous children were taken from their communities and forced to live at these schools. These boarding schools were meant to assimilate Indigenous children into settler society, and students were regularly mistreated and abused. 

Chief Delorme said the Cowessess First Nation began searching for the unmarked graves using ground-penetrating radar on June 2, after years of survival stories about the "school" were exchanged by members of the First Nation community.