No bodies found after spending $8 million searching for bodies at Kamloops Residential School

May 12, 2024 in News by RBN Staff



Undated group photo of Kamloops IRS students gathered for what might have been a first communion.Archives Deschâtelets-NDC

The Department of Crown-Indigenous Relations has confirmed significant spending to try and uncover the “heartbreaking truth” of potential unmarked graves at the Indian Residential School in Kamloops, BC.

However, despite the allocation of $7.9 million for this purpose, no remains have been recovered, and there has been no public disclosure of how the funds were utilized, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Carolane Gratton, spokesperson for the department, confirmed the allocation of $7.9 million for various endeavors including fieldwork, records searches, and securing the Residential School grounds.

However, she redirected inquiries regarding the specifics of initiatives undertaken by the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation to the community.

While the department has not released financial accounts under the Access To Information Act, the First Nation has also remained tight-lipped about the utilization of the funds. In a statement, they reiterated their focus on the scientific work required but declined to discuss the $7.9 million allocation.

The 2021 funding was designated to document the “heartbreaking truth” about unmarked burials at Residential Schools, as outlined in a 2022 department briefing note. Despite this, no tangible progress has been made, leaving the fate of the allocated funds undisclosed.

The announcement of the discovery of 215 children’s graves at the Kamloops Residential School site by the First Nation in 2021 prompted an international outcry.

However, despite this revelation, no remains have been recovered to date. The government’s response included lowering the Peace Tower flag for 161 days, allocating $3.1 million for a national Residential Schools Student Death Register, and earmarking $238.8 million for a Residential Schools Missing Children Community Support Fund, which expires in 2025.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously highlighted the significance of acknowledging the present-day impact of residential schools, stating, “What happened decades ago isn’t part of our history, it is an irrefutable part of our present.”

The lack of transparency regarding the allocation and utilization of funds, coupled with the absence of tangible progress in uncovering the truth about residential school burials, has raised concerns about accountability and the need for greater transparency in addressing the legacy of Residential Schools in Canada.