Regina City Council has voted unanimously in favour of granting heritage designation to the Regina Indian Industrial School’s cemetery.
A survey of the land in 2014 found there were potentially 22 to 40 unmarked graves on the cemetery beside the school.
Chief Daryl Watson from Mistawasis First Nation says the designation means the history is being acknowledged.
Chief Watson says the City of Regina had a responsibility as a municipality to designate the site and Indigenous history needs to be acknowledged.
A survey of the land was reviewed by the city’s administration and in 2014, officials recommended against protected status.
Instead, officials suggested the private owner of the property should be required to cut the grass inside the cemetery at least once a year and generally keep things “neat and tidy.”
A heritage property designation lets Regina assess “the heritage merits of the property” and make any reviews before “demolition or significant change, whether it is the entire property or specific heritage features.”
The Regina Indian Industrial School operated from 1891-1911.
It was demolished by fire in 1948, but after the building was gone, the remains of over 30 students were left behind in a small, mostly unmarked cemetery.
The site is located at 701 Pinkie Road, just west of Regina.
It has changed hands many times, but is currently in the possession of a private owner.