FSIN says hundreds of unmarked graves found at residential school site

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Canada's Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister says Ottawa is open to providing archival data on residential schools to the USA government to help with its recently announced investigation into Indigenous boarding schools.

A news release Wednesday from Cowessess and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations (FSIN), which represents Saskatchewan's First Nations, did not give a specific number but said it will be the most found to date in Canada.

At the beginning of June, the Muskowekwan First Nation in Saskatchewan held a ceremony to honour the 215 children whose remains were found at a Kamloops residential school site and recognize the 35 unmarked graves found on the site of the Muscowequan Indian Residential School.

Manitoba notes that First Nation, Metis, and Inuit children would have attended at least one of the 17 residential schools in the province, 14 of which are officially recognized by the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. The statement did not specify numbers.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected.

They followed the discovery of the remains of 215 schoolchildren at another former indigenous residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, which sent shock waves through Canada.

"I urge all Canadians to stand with First Nations in this extremely hard and emotional time", he posted on Twitter Wednesday evening.

Survivors who spoke with Reuters recalled perpetual hunger and haunting loneliness, and schools run under the threat and frequent use of force.

In 2008, the Canadian government formally apologised for the system.

Ontario has committed $10 million and Alberta $8 million for Indigenous communities to locate and investigate grounds surrounding residential schools in those provinces.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said he was pained, a statement dismissed by survivors.

The school was turned over to the Cowessess First Nation in 1987, and it was closed 10 years later.

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