Regina Indian Industrial School cemetery now belongs to commemorative association

The RCMP has officially transferred the land of the Regina Indian Industrial School Cemetery to the commemorative association.

The land has been declared a provincial heritage site back in 2017, and is the final resting place for at least 35 first nations or metis kids that died at the school before it closed in 1910.

Commissioner Brenda Lucki said while the RCMP is giving up land, it’s the right thing to do.

“To put some recognition to this historical event, and you know, I say we need to learn from the past so we can move forward in a positive direction for the future, and this is what this ceremony was about.”

Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale said he did not know about the industrial school before the process to gain the land began.

“It really was the work of the commemorative association that began examining the history of the industrial school, and started working through the archives, and saw the references to a burial ground or a cemetery,” Goodale said. “(They) began searching meticulously for where that was.”

Barry Kennedy, who along with his mom were instrumental in ensuring the site is remembered and recognized, said this is a major milestone.

“When my mother passed away, the last thing she told me was ‘Barry, take care of them grave sites,’ nothing else, just ‘take care of them grave sites,’” Kennedy said. “That’s what I’ve done, so I’ve honoured my mother.”

The Regina Indian Industrial School was one of many residential schools where first nations children were taken from their homes and placed in the early part of the 20th century. Over 500 first nations and metis kids attended the school from about 43 communities across the prairies.

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