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Search for unmarked graves at Algoma University moves forward


The search for human remains at a former residential school site in Sault Ste. Marie continues.

Ground-penetrating radar equipment is being used to scan the grounds at Algoma University to determine whether there are unmarked graves from the time the Shingwauk Residential School was still in operation.

Miranda Moffatt, site search community coordinator for the Shingwauk Residential School Site, said scanning of the southwest corner of the university property was completed before heavy snow moved into the region over the weekend.

She said there are plans to expand the search.

“The goal is to complete a secondary section at the back of the Algoma University campus land,” she said.

“We’re hoping for the weather to warm up. But we’re also contemplating actually shovelling or moving the snow.”

Moffatt said a traditional knowledge keeper was on site to ensure cultural practices and traditions are upheld during the search. The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association is taking the lead in establishing protocols for the search. There will be no digging and if any graves are discovered, they will not be disturbed.

Association president Irene Barbeau said this is a day she’s been working toward for the last 40 years.

“I have been exposed to everything one can imagine in terms of residential school stuff,” said Barbeau.

“I just go and do what I need to do. And the priority right now is the ground search, and the people I work with feel the same way.”

Barbeau hopes Canadians will continue to work with Indigenous people toward reconciliation.

“Pray for us that the Creator will help us to do this work that needs to be done,” said Barbeau.

“The focus will always be on the children who never came home.”

Barbeau said if a grave is discovered on the Algoma University grounds, the person’s remains will be memorialized in some way. The Children of Shingwauk expect it will be some time before the results of the ground search are known. Top Stories

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