Pimicikamak Cree Nation begins investigating former residential school site

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

A First Nation in northern Manitoba is investigating what was once the main Roman Catholic-run residential school in the area.

Pimicikamak Cree Nation Chief David Monias says the community has identified 85 children who died there.

He says in a release that the St. Joseph’s Residential School was the main residential school for northern Manitoba and it closed in 1969.

Monias adds there were two schools that operated in the community, also known as Cross Lake, that were both destroyed by fires.

The community says the investigation will involve ground-penetrating radar as well as the collection of government, medical and church data to develop a database of students’ names.

The community also plans to install a permanent monument to honour former students, including members who attended other residential schools.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools or by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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