Saskatchewan

Walk honours children in cemetery at old Indian Industrial School

About 100 people participated in a memorial walk to an old cemetery on the outskirts of Regina associated with the Indian Industrial School.

Possible site of 40 graves of children from Indian Industrial School

RAW: Memorial Walk to old cemetery

6 years ago
1:03
A group of people participated in a walk to an old cemetery associated with the Indian Industrial School in Regina. 1:03

About 100 people participated in a memorial walk to an old cemetery on the outskirts of Regina associated with the Indian Industrial School.

The grave area, on a dusty spot off Pinkie Road west of Regina, has not been fully researched but is believed to be where dozens of unknown First Nations and Métis children are buried.

In 2012, an engineering firm surveyed the 680-square-metre area and found there were a minimum of 22 grave sites and possibly 40.

The Indian Industrial School was created in an era when government policy was to integrate aboriginal people into mainstream society. It was operated as a school from 1891 to 1910.

Lisa Dustyhorn took part in the the Walk for the Children and said it was an emotional experience.

"They never got to go home, where ever they're from," Dustyhorn said of the children who died. "They ended up being buried here. I'm just heartbroken. As a mother, I'm just totally heartbroken."

Many children brought teddy bears to place in the cemetery. A nearby First Nation have been in discussions with city officials to determine how to deal with the site, which many say should be declared a heritage protected site.

The walk was followed by traditional prayers and a feast.

In 1911, after the school closed, the building was used as the city jail. In 1919, it became the boy's detention house.

The school was destroyed by fire in 1948. The property has been in private hands since the 1980s.

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