'Most horrific': Alberta First Nation investigating after remains of children found
Warning: This story contains disturbing details.
Saddle Lake Cree Nation in eastern Alberta is "actively researching and investigating" the deaths of at least 200 residential school children who never came home, as remains are being found in unmarked grave sites.
"It was one of the most horrific residential schools in Canada," Eric Large, from the Acimowin Opaspiw Society, told reporters in Edmonton on Tuesday.
Large started combing through burial records in February related to the Blue Quills Indian Residential School, which was based near St. Paul, Alta.
He believes he's found documents for 215 students who died between the ages of 6-11, but whose remains are still unaccounted for.
"The amount of missing children is extensive...The institution was strife with violence, illness, starvation, abuse and death," said Large, who attended a residential school himself.
Some of the records that Large obtained are from the Catholic church. He said there are 12,000 nation members, and each family had accounts of four or five children who disappeared.
"We have also been collecting witness statements from members in our nation to try and piece together a complex puzzle in regards to our missing children who never came home," Large said.
A councillor in Saddle Lake said he has accidentally recovered bones of several children, while attempting to dig new graves in the local Sacred Heart Cemetery.
"There were children's sized skeleton remains that were excavated. None of these skeletal remains were in caskets, none of the graves had markings of any sort," Jason Whiskeyjack explained.
"I came across a small ribcage attached to a spine...and then more infilling, came across a small skull," he recalled. "When I hit a lot of these graves there's no supports for us."
Whiskeyjack called on the federal government to provide the Saddle Lake with funding for radar equipment to investigate further. He also wants a community wellness plan to be created to assist members experiencing renewed trauma.
In February, a Cree woman launched her own effort to mark graves in Saddle Lake by selling moccasins for charity.
The issue of unmarked graves around residential schools triggered international mourning last May, after a First Nation near Kamloops B.C. announced that ground-penetrating radar suggests about 200 children are buried near their former school.
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 at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll-free line at 1-800-721-0066.
Additional mental-health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Joe Scarpelli
Edmonton Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed to resign, his office said Thursday, ending an unprecedented political crisis over his future that has paralyzed Britain's government.
A well-known Ukrainian paramedic who was held prisoner by Russian and separatist forces for three months after being captured in the southeastern city of Mariupol has accused her guards of psychological and physical torture during her time in captivity.
Video has emerged showing a worker dangling in the air above a Toronto construction site after accidently getting entangled in a tagline attached to a crane.
Several vaccine manufacturers are racing to develop formulas that take into account the more infectious Omicron variant now driving cases, while policymakers are laying the groundwork for another large-scale vaccine blitz.
The federal government has no intention of dropping the controversial ArriveCan app because it gives the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) key health information about travellers who test positive for COVID-19 through testing at airports and land borders, senior government sources tell CTV News.
Patrick Brown is alleging political corruption played a role in his disqualification from the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race, a move that came following allegations that his campaign violated election financing rules.
Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her release nearly five months after she was arrested on drug charges.
Despite being disqualified by the Conservative Party of Canada from becoming its next leader, ousted candidate Patrick Brown's name will still appear on the ballot.
First Nations art, from hand-carved masks to totem poles, draws on generations of tradition and skill and can take months to craft. But a flood of fakes and commercial knock-offs produced in Asia and eastern Europe are exploiting Indigenous culture, the artists say, and robbing them of revenue.
Calgary drivers might be asking why the price of gasoline is more expensive in their energy rich province where oil is refined and extracted than in Ontario, but one retail expert claims to have the answer.
Police are investigating after receiving reports of shots fired late Wednesday afternoon in Bankview.
Blackfalds RCMP were called to the scene of a serious hit and run collision Wednesday evening.
A crash involving a fire hydrant was the first in a chain of events that led to a chaotic scene in a Saskatoon intersection.
Starting Thursday, riders looking to take Access Transit to get to their destinations will notice a shift in service over the next three weeks.
Two Ukrainian refugees, a brother and sister, are settling into their new home in Saskatoon.
The city’s executive committee discussed possible upgrades for Regina’s recreation facilities and event venues during a meeting Wednesday.
'I feel like I have everything to lose': Riders' Tevin Jones looks to maintain place on active roster
Wide Receiver Tevin Jones got his first regular season Canadian Football League (CFL) start in week four and will look to continue the momentum against Ottawa.
SaskEnergy has gained ownership of its Regina head office building following a decade long legal battle.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
Halifax Regional Police and fire crews are investigating after receiving reports of a missing swimmer in Dartmouth.
The ex-boyfriend of Cassidy Bernard has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and a consecutive three years for child abandonment in connection with the young mother's death.
'I cannot get any rest': Residents complain of sleepless nights after alleged nightclub opens up under condo
Residents living in Toronto’s west end say they have been left utterly exhausted after an alleged nightclub opened up at the base of their condominium.
Ontario has likely entered a new wave of the pandemic driven by the more infectious BA.5 subvariant, the province’s science advisory table says.
A mother from Nova Scotia is speaking out about her recent travel experience through Toronto Pearson Airport after a WestJet flight delay left her and her daughters sleeping on a nursing room floor.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M. | With another COVID climb, Quebec health minister calls news conference for Thursday morning
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Quebec, public health officials have called a news conference for Thursday morning.
'Not a time when Quebec can afford to lose young doctors,' province's opposition leader says of ER exodus
The leader of Quebec's Liberal Party paused her vacation briefly on Wednesday to react to the news that two young emergency room doctors have quit their jobs in their hometown of Montreal to work in Toronto.
A prominent Montreal drag queen who recently faced pressure from critics over library readings to young children says her storytime events scheduled for the fall were abruptly called off for unknown reasons.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Bluesfest is back today after two years of COVID-19 cancellations
Fans will be packing into the grounds at LeBreton Flats tonight for the first in-person Bluesfest since 2019.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Ottawa police are on the scene of a shooting that injured one person in the city's west end.
Police said a stabbing was reported Wednesday night near the University of Waterloo.
Break-ins targeting restaurants, salons, dress shops and cannabis stores have been reported in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich.
'There’s no great answer': Low-income tenants weigh options in Cambridge as renovations push them out
Tenants of the Tiger Lofts, an affordable apartment building in Cambridge, say they’re being “renovicted” and won’t be allowed to stay after extensive renovations.
Christ the King Church in Sudbury is looking for your scrap vehicle.
Whether you’re looking for a change of pace, a breath of fresh air, or a glimpse into nature, northern Ontario has an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered.
The chair of the Station Mall Merchants Association says news of the mall's sale to a southern Ontario holding company brings to a close years of uncertainty regarding the future of the property.
A political breakup at Winnipeg City Hall is creating intrigue in a council race.
A community organization is proposing a network of cameras in an effort to bolster safety throughout the area.
Residents in a southern Manitoba town are asking questions as to why they are facing a summer with no emergency room.
Someone in British Columbia could be sitting on a lottery ticket worth a whopping $15 million – but there's only a few weeks left to claim the jackpot.
For the second consecutive day, emergency resolutions related to a conflict between the Assembly of First Nations National Chief and the organization's executive council threw the agenda into chaos.
The large logs that have lined the water’s edge at many Vancouver beaches have been a favourite lounging spot for sun worshipers for over 50 years.
Investigators say a man was lying in the roadway when he was struck and killed by a vehicle near Courtenay, B.C., on Wednesday.
The driver of a logging truck was airlifted to hospital in Victoria after he was pinned inside the vehicle following a rollover crash on Wednesday morning.
The number of Vancouver Island marmots in the wild increased this week, with 10 of the critically endangered rodents released onto a Mount Washington ski run.