RCMP reports no 'grave diggers' at former Kamloops residential school site

An interim June 2023 government report fueled the fire by falsely claiming that shovel-wielding 'denialists' tried to dig up alleged remains.

RCMP reports no 'grave diggers' at former Kamloops residential school site
The Canadian Press / Jeff McIntosh
Remove Ads

The supposed discovery of 215 unmarked graves at a former Kamloops Indian Residential School sparked considerable uproar in 2021, leading to a wave of destruction against Catholic churches nationwide.

However, an interim June 2023 government report fueled the fire by falsely claiming that shovel-wielding “denialists” tried to dig up alleged remains. The Kamloops RCMP confirmed it received no such information.

“Denialists entered the site without permission,” wrote Kimberly Murray, a special interlocutor for unmarked graves. “Some came in the middle of the night, carrying shovels; they said they wanted to ‘see for themselves’ if children were buried there.”

The Kamloops RCMP said they haven’t intercepted any unauthorized grave diggers on the grounds nor received reports of trespassers.

“At this time, there is no indication that these events have been reported to the Tk’emlúps Rural RCMP Detachment,” the RCMP spokesperson told True North.

“On almost any controversial issue — Indigenous in particular — most of what you will hear in the media — and often from academia — is incorrect,” said Gregory Piasetzki, partner at Piasetzki Nenniger Kvas LLP.

“For example, most Canadians think all or most Indigenous children went to residential schools and attended for many years. Most Indigenous children attended day schools and went home each night,” he told Rebel News.

“From the schools opening in the 1870s until the 1950s, more than half of Indigenous students dropped out after grade 1,” added Piasetzki. “This was true at residential schools and day schools.”

The columnist also contended that these facts are easy to look up in the archives of Indian Affairs, which tracked attendance in each grade at every school.  “The government cared a lot about attendance since it paid a per day per student fee,” he said. “If a student wasn’t in school, they didn’t pay.”

Piasetzki also contended that no ‘mysterious burials’ exist at the residential schools.

In May 2021, Tk’emlúps Nation announced it detected 215 ‘soil anomalies’ on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. They interpreted it as the “remains” of missing children, but no bodies have been exhumed yet.

“Every time an announcement of anomalies, reflections or recoveries relating to the existence of unmarked burials is made, Indigenous communities are being attacked by denialists challenging these findings,” wrote Murray.

She made several unsubstantiated claims regarding the alleged grave-digging incidents. 

“Many older Canadian cities like Toronto and Kingston have parks in the city with hundreds of unmarked graves,” added Piasetzki.

“There are many unmarked graves in Canada. Most belong to European settlers,” he said. “Wooden markers, which were common — and are still used — are gone in 20 or 30 years. Old stone markers lasted about 50.”

Murray firmly supports outlawing “residential school denialism,” which Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller and Justice Minister David Lametti have expressed interest in criminalizing. To date, the officials haven’t elaborated on what would constitute such an offence.

“Urgent consideration should be given to legal mechanisms to address denialism, including the implementation of both civil and criminal sanctions,” wrote Murray.

“The graveyards predate Confederation,” added Piasetzki. “The headstones crumbled and were removed [over time], and the land repurposed as a park. However, the bodies remain.” 

The columnist contends some of his French Canadian ancestors in Northern Ontario are buried under a hockey arena in town. “It served as an old graveyard before, but the markers are mostly gone,” he said.

“It was a nice site for a hockey arena, so my ancestors are now lying under a hockey arena. Such is life.”

Remove Ads
Remove Ads

Kamloops: The Buried Truth

A new Rebel News documentary exposing the truth about the discovery of unmarked graves in Kamloops, British Columbia in 2021.

Watch Now

Don't Get Censored

Big Tech is censoring us. Sign up so we can always stay in touch.

Remove Ads