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How international media covered the discovery of 751 unmarked graves near former Sask. residential school


The discovery of an estimated 751 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan understandably drew widespread attention from international media on Thursday and Friday.

The New York Times struck a sober tone consistent with many international news sources with its page 8 headline “In Canada, Another ‘Horrific’ Discovery of Indigenous Children’s Remains”, writing that, combined with the discovery of the remains of 215 children in Kamloops, “have jolted a nation grappling with generations of widespread and systematic abuse of Indigenous people, many of whom are survivors of the boarding schools.”

Like the Times, many international media outlets took pains to attempt to set the discovery in the proper context, with background on the residential school system and the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s description of the policy as cultural genocide.

The Washington Post pointed to Canada’s reckoning with “the devastating legacy of one of the darkest chapters in its history.”

French state-owned network France 24 led on the national shock at the discovery with its headline, “Canada shaken by discovery of 751 graves near indigenous school,” and highlighting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call for an acknowledgement of Canada’s history of “systemic racism.”

U.K. dailies were particularly critical of the Catholic church’s role in operating the majority of residential schools, with the left-leaning Guardian prominently noting the forced conversion of children to Christianity.

The right-leaning Times of London was direct with its headline, “Call for Pope to apologise as new grave of 751 children and adults found at Canada First Nation school.”

China’s state-owned Global Times reporting began with criticism from China’s foreign ministry, calling on Canada to “take stronger measures to investigate violations against indigenous people, not perform superficial justice.”

If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, or the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line at 1-800-721-0066.

Additional mental-health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here
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