It’s been 51 years since Deedee Lerat, 60, attended the Marieval Indian Residential School on her home reservation of Cowessess in Saskatchewan, Canada. But the memories of the abuses the Salteaux Cree woman endured there still haunt her. “There was so much fear,” she says.
The fear came rushing back when the Cowessess First Nation announced on June 23 that it had discovered 751 unmarked graves at the site of the school. “I would like answers,” says Lerat. “Why weren’t they reported? Why wasn’t this stopped?” She was five years old when she was forced to attend Marieval. “That could’ve been me.”
The discovery at Marieval is the latest in a grim tally of newly revealed burial sites at Canada’s Indian Residential