Following Ground Penetrating Radar work and the use of a specialized drone, Kapawe’no First Nation of Treaty 8 says their investigation has identified as many as 169 anomalies at the Grouard mission site, which was formerly known as St. Bernard Residential School. Grouard is located about 232 kilometres east of Grande Prairie.
The investigation began in October of 2021 to help identify First Nation, Métis, and Inuit children who never made it home from the residential school.
Kapawe’no First Nation Chief Sydney Halcrow says that he feels for the families that never saw their children come back to them.
“The grief of finding our stolen children has opened fresh wounds as we remember the horror and devastation our People felt when our children were forcibly removed from their families and communities to institutions known as residential schools,” he says.
Halcrow says that even though this is a difficult process for families affected, they can at least find some peace in the result of the investigation and begin to move forward.
“We can now begin our collective healing and honour the lives of these children so they can finally rest in peace. We honour all Elders and Survivors who have bravely shared their truth with us-truths that were not believed or acknowledged for many, many years. We are forever grateful for their forced sacrifice and unparalleled courage,” he says.
Phase three of the project involves conducting further research on survivors. It is unknown at this time how many children attended the residential school.