March 10, 2022

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Catholic register, survivors offer clues to who may be buried in cemetery next to Marieval residential school

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Lloyd Lerat still remembers the day in the early 1960s when workers came to remove headstones from a section of the cemetery in Cowessess First Nation, Sask., that is now covered with tiny flags marking spots left by a ground-penetrating radar survey that the nation says found evidence of 751 unmarked graves.

A student at Marieval Indian Residential School at the time, Lerat, 72, said he and other children heard a hubbub of activity coming from the cemetery near the school, located about 164 kilometres east of Regina. They saw workers and a truck removing headstones and wooden crosses. 

Several stories have surfaced in the community about what happened to the grave markers, and they all agree on one thing: a priest ordered their removal in the early 1960s. But no one story explains why, and officials from the Catholic Church, which ran the school until the late 1960s, have not been able to confirm the account or explain why either.

A similar uncertainty shrouds the identities and precise location of those buried in this section of cleared cemetery now at the centre of national attention, with some former students suggesting the majority of the 751 gravesites do not contain the remains of children from the residential school.

Nevertheless, early Catholic mission records obtained by CBC News, along with the testimony of elders from the community who attended Marieval residential school, help shed some light on who could be buried there. 

The records and testimony also suggest the Catholic Church has additional documents with some of the names connected to these unmarked graves. 

WATCH | More unmarked graves found near former Sask., residential school: 

Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme said that, according to local oral history, up to 75 per cent of the interred are children who attended Marieval residential school, which was run by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

“But I can’t confirm that,” he said in an interview with CBC News.  

The Cowessess discovery sent shock waves across a country still reeling from the findings revealed three weeks earlier of another ground survey that identified 200 potential unmarked graves in an old apple orchard near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Read more on this story here.

Olympic staredown

(Yuichi Yamazaki/Getty Images)

An anti-Olympics protester and a police officer glare at each other in Tokyo on Monday. As Tokyo 2020 prepares to get underway, many people in the city aren’t enthralled by the event. “Just get them over with,” one Tokyo driver told CBC. As Devin Heroux reports from Tokyo, that sums up the mood in a country that eight years ago rejoiced at winning the 2020 Olympic bid. 

In brief

As many Canadians embrace a return to summer gatherings and activities amid relatively high vaccination rates and dropping COVID-19 case counts, millions of people around the world are still suffering the ravages of the pandemic as they desperately wait for vaccines, doctors and scientists say. About 26 per cent of the world’s population has had at least one shot. But that percentage is driven up by rich countries. In low-income countries, one per cent of people, on average, have received any vaccine at all. If Canada, along with other rich countries, doesn’t move quickly to dramatically scale up the amount of vaccine it contributes to those countries, some experts say, it will not only be a global citizenship failure — but it will also put Canadians at risk of another wave of COVID-19. “[It’s] not simply a matter of charity. It’s a matter of self-interest,” said global health researcher Dr. Prabhat Jha. Read more on the need to get vaccines to lower-income countries.

WATCH | Prioritize 1st COVID-19 vaccine doses globally over booster shots, WHO says: 

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul said Monday that internal challenges to her leadership should wait until after a widely anticipated fall election. “We see that we have candidates that are ready to get going and none of us need this distraction, so I’m certainly hoping that this is the end of this,” Paul told a press conference. Until recently, the Green Party’s governing body was set to hold a confidence vote on Paul’s leadership and to review her membership in the party. CBC News learned over the weekend that the confidence vote has been cancelled and the review of Paul’s party membership has been abandoned. Paul said that she will face a scheduled leadership review after the next federal election. In the meantime, she said, she needs the party’s support. Read more on Paul’s comments here.

A maskless Premier Jason Kenney shakes hands, embraces Calgary Stampede visitors and stands shoulder-to-shoulder for photo-ops in a video posted to his social media pages on Sunday. “Such a joy to connect with Albertans during Canada’s first major event after the pandemic,” the caption reads. His choice of phrasing — “after the pandemic” — worries health experts who say it falsely implies the coronavirus is no longer a cause for concern. “I’m worried about the degree to which this video really invites a complete return to normal … this idea that the pandemic is over, it’s gone away, we don’t have to worry about anything is just wrong. It’s just wrong scientifically,” said Timothy Caulfield, the Canada Research Chair in health, law and policy at the University of Alberta. Read more on this story here.

CBC News reached out to more than a dozen museums across the country about how they were addressing the legacy of residential schools in Canada. Responses from the museums varied: Some pointed to long-running exhibits displayed in consultation with Indigenous communities, others hosted ceremonies to honour residential school victims and survivors, and a few said that they had long-term plans to address the issue. But a difficult task lies ahead: How do museums better tell our nation’s story in a way that accurately reflects the role of Canadian institutions in destroying Indigenous lives and communities through the residential school system? Read more about how museums are handling the history of residential schools.

WATCH | Canadian museums confront treatment of Indigenous people: 

Amazon founder, and by some measures the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos will audition his version of space tourism for a wider audience today, when he hops aboard a Blue Origin rocket along with three other people. It comes just after Virgin Galactic showman Richard Branson arguably stole Bezos’s thunder by snagging a ride on a Virgin Unity space plane on July 11 that neared the edge of space. Though Branson’s Virgin Orbit has sent craft into orbital space to launch satellites, its splashy event was all about promoting the possibility of regular, albeit expensive, suborbital space tourism. For the American Bezos, space tourism has often seemed a means to much more ambitious goals, including sending people to the moon. Read more on Bezos’s space ambitions.

Can Canada’s women’s soccer team bring home medals in three consecutive Olympics? Can they change the colour of the medal this time? Those are just some of the more pertinent questions ahead of the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics set to kick off next week. Led by iconic captain Christine Sinclair, Canada is coming off back-to-back bronze medals, and a third consecutive third-place finish would be an unprecedented achievement. But newly installed coach Bev Priestman has set her sights much higher. “A team like Canada should be on that podium. I do think we need to change the colour of the medal.… To keep moving forward, we have to aim higher than that,” Priestman said. Read more here about the women’s soccer tournament at Tokyo 2020.

WATCH | Christine Sinclair’s ‘epic’ performance at the 2012 Olympics helped cement her legendary status: 

Now for some good news to start your Tuesday: For many people, one of the big casualties of the pandemic was the ability to spend quality time with friends. And for anyone who was already experiencing isolation and loneliness, the last 15 months of lockdowns have not been kind. After facing the worsening effects of loneliness herself, Laura Sniderman created an online community called Kinnd to help create meaningful friendships designed to last beyond the pandemic. Watch here as CBC Radio’s Metro Morning host Ismaila Alfa meets with Sniderman in Toronto’s High Park to see first-hand how this group has already created some lasting connections.

Front Burner: The reporter who brought down Jeffrey Epstein

By now, Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes are known around the world. But in 2018, they had largely been forgotten, until Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown’s explosive investigation helped lead to federal sex-trafficking charges for the wealthy financier. 

Now, Epstein is dead, but his alleged co-conspirator, Ghislaine Maxwell, is in jail awaiting trial. Today, a conversation with Julie K. Brown about that upcoming trial and the many questions that still swirl around the Jeffrey Epstein saga. Her new book is called Perversion of Justice: The Jeffrey Epstein Story.

Front Burner26:30The reporter who brought down Jeffrey Epstein

Today in history: July 20

1871: British Columbia becomes Canada’s sixth province. The province received three seats in the Senate and six in the House of Commons. One condition of joining Canada was the building of a rail link within 10 years.

1975: Fire destroys the main street of Springhill, N.S., demolishing 25 buildings and causing damage estimated at more than $3 million.

1976: The Viking 1 spacecraft makes the first landing on Mars. It sent back the first pictures ever taken on the planet’s surface.

2005: Bill C-38 is given royal assent, making Canada the fourth country in the world to legally allow same-sex couples to wed.

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