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UPDATED: ‘Shocking’ discovery of 751 unmarked graves at former Sask. residential school

“The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada,” said the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations in a press release.




The Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan say they have made the “horrific and shocking discovery” of 751 unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School, only weeks following the discovery of 215 children’s remains near Kamloops

“The number of unmarked graves will be the most significantly substantial to date in Canada,” said the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations in a press release.

The Cowessess First Nation began using ground-penetrating radar on June 2 and discovered what Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme believes to be the remains of 751 people, with a minimum of 600 to account for up to a 10% error.

“We want to make sure when we tell our story that we are not making numbers sound bigger than they are,” said Delorme in a press conference Thursday.

Delorme emphasized the findings were not from a mass grave, but unmarked graves where headstones had been removed.

It is not yet known how many of these unmarked graves belong to children, but in the coming months each will be assessed for a verified number, according to Delorme, adding that he aims to have a headstone and name for each.

“Phase two we have other locations on our First Nation that were orally told to us. This is going to be years in the making,” said Delorme.

When asked about potential federal funding going forward Delorme said, “Cowessess First Nation enjoy working with Canada. We enjoy our settler Canadian friends and neighbours. What we don’t enjoy is that life is better off the reserve than on the reserve, and we don’t want that for our children.

“Coming to the reserve is a blessing for family kinship. But infrastructure, lack of services, and the inter-generational trauma of addictions, of child welfare. We would rather spend our money on economic self sustainability, political sovereignty, and being proud people. We are ready to do that, and we need Canada and the world to stand beside us and help Cowessess be who we know we can be.”

The Indian residential schools – which hold a wide reputation for sheltering generations of depravity – operated for more than a century as a partnership between the Canadian government and major churches. The last school closed its doors in 1996. An estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools between the 1860s and 1996, according to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Marieval Indian Residential School was constructed by Roman Catholic missionaries in the area where Cowessess is now located. The federal government started funding the school in 1901, according to TRC.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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  1. westofsask@hotmail.com

    June 25, 2021 at 9:05 am

    More convenient timing. Chiefs playing lock step with Trudeau? This may be found to be very old graves in which the families that maintained them have died or the community moved. There are many such graveyards. When reporters interviewed a residential school survivor in Kelowna recently, he talked about several children being killed in accidents while doing chores and I’m sure sickness factored in as well. Yes they should have been sent home for burial and frankly shouldn’t have been taken from their homes in the first place, but to spin this as genocide without evidence is extremely irresponsible! The Chinese led UN human rights council is already talking about “investigating” Canada for genocide! This might be Trudeau inviting a “friendly” invasion by his true masters! We are under attack as a country!

  2. Lorraine Chay

    June 25, 2021 at 8:36 am

    If the graves were found on residential school property, how long have they been there? How many died during the Spanish Flu Pandemic or other instances of the flu? We have a new one every few years in this country.

    I don’t dispute that Native children were abused by the people running the schools and some may have died but there needs to be some fact checking before everyone goes nuts.

    My mother is buried in a small Catholic cemetery in Manitoba and my father is buried in a large cemetery miles from her. They were divorced.

    My mother is buried where her parents were and we couldn’t find either of their graves.

    Where my father is buried, markers are not allowed. The people who run the property wanted it to look like a park.

    There are reasons why there are unmarked graves in this country. Not the least of which is that headstones have always cost far more than most people could afford.

  3. Left Coast

    June 24, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Here we go again . . . more media insanity without any facts.

    Not one of these people have been exhumed & examined . . . but the media reacts like they were buried last month, instead of maybe 100 years ago. Suppose the 100 years is closer to the truth. Did the schools have money to buy Granite Memorials or did they use Wood?

    Were there problems in some of these schools, evidently so, but 1000s also got educated and went on to have productive lives. Nobody talks about that, especially the media.

    Anyone in the lame-stream Media going to do an Article on Life on an Indian Reservation circa 1890? Not friggin likely . . .
    we still have many Reserves that are a Disaster today, and no one in the Govt or the massive Indian Affairs bureaucracy is interested or cares. So 130 years of little or no progress but close to a Trillion Dollars has changed hands.

  4. Marnie Bryce

    June 24, 2021 at 3:16 pm

    **shocking** discovery of the Western Standard blocking simple comments criticizing their articles.

  5. Rose

    June 24, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Unmarked graves just means they used wooded crosses, as custom engraved headstones were expensive, and still are.
    Why are western politicians suddenly scouring the west for unmarked graves?
    Could they have an agenda?
    Step 1 = Create a villain / victim narrative
    Step 2 = Punish villain / reward victim with public support.
    Step 3 = Reparation TAX and/or Mass Property Seizures (eg. South Africa)
    Step 4 = Make western independence illegal.

  6. paul bryce

    June 24, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    What is shocking about this?? I have toured many gravesites from the 1890’s and almost without exception their are many unmarked graves. This is political fodder and not reflective of any wrong doing by anyone. Adults as well as children it says. Many children died in childbirth along with their mothers in those days. What is significant is the timing in these so called “mass graves” by the worlds leftist media. Trudeau needs cover to institute his racist policies to fuel division in Canada. The media says we are racist so we must be. What trash reporting on part of the western standard.

  7. susan robertson

    June 24, 2021 at 1:01 pm

    I do not doubt the seriousness of the issue of unmarked graves around the residential schools, but wish to ask where the marked graves are of Canadian indigenous people who died in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia before 1850. Are there any?

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Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.




The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard

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Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.




Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard

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