THE remains of 761 children have been found in a mass grave on the site of a former Indigenous boarding school in southern Saskatchewan, Canada.
It comes just weeks after the bodies of 215 children were found on the grounds of an old residential school in Kamloops.
The discovery – the largest to date – was made by the Cowessess First Nation on Thursday, who are continuing their mission to expose the exploitation and "cultural genocide" of their ancestors.
After the finding at Kamloops, the community were spurred to expand their search efforts and again used the ground-penetrating radar to find the bodies.
Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters they believed the headstones or markers at the Marieval Indian Residential School were intentionally removed.
Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nations during the press conference said: "This was a crime against humanity, an assault on First Nations."
"The only crime we ever committed as children was being born Indigenous,” he said, before pledging that Indigenous people would not stop until all the "bodies" of the victims were found.
The Marieval Indian Residential School was run by the Roman Catholic Church from 1899 to 1997 and was one of the many compulsory boarding schools funded by the Canadian government.
Nine years earlier, the Kamloops Indian Residential School was founded with the aim to force Indigenous children to assimilate into society.
Chief Rosanne Casimir said the community suspected there was a burial site at the school for a long time prior to proving it.
Some of the 215 remains discovered were of children as young as three years old.
“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” Casimir said in the statement to CBC.
More than 150,000 First Nations children were subjected to the horrific 'education', that saw them stripped from their families, housed in squalid conditions and sexually and physically abused.
Students were prohibited from speaking in their native tongue and it was common for them to never be reunited with their families.
An estimated 6,000 children died while attending the schools –
Local Indigenous leaders called for an inquiry into the "genocide", while Chief Cadmus Delorme, of the Cowessess First Nation demanded an apology from Pope Francis.
He said the Catholic Church had a duty to address its actions.
Canadian Prime Minister Just Trudeau said the discoveries at both sites "reaffirm the truth" which Indigenous communities "have long know".
He committed to providing government funding and resources to help bring "these terrible wrongs to light".
In a statement he said, "They are a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced — and continue to face — in this country.
"And together, we must acknowledge this truth, learn from our past, and walk the shared path of reconciliation, so we can build a better future."
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