The fires come soon after a second discovery, two days ago: over 750 anonymous graves on the site of a former church-run college in Marieval
Two more Catholic churches were burned down on Saturday (the total rises to four) in the indigenous territories of western Canada, after the discovery of a thousand anonymous graves near former Church-run schools for natives. In less than an hour the flames were set in the church of Sant’Anna and in that of Chopaka: “Both churches were destroyed,” said Sergeant Jason Bayda of the Canadian mounted police.
Authorities are trying to determine any possible connection to the two church fires on 21 June in Penticton and Oliver, some 50 kilometers apart. The fires come after the discovery two days ago of more than 750 anonymous graves on the site of a former church-run boarding school in Marieval, while the remains of 215 children were identified near another facility in May. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized to the country on Friday, invited Pope Francis to do the same, and did not rule out a criminal investigation.
During a press conference, Trudeau returned at length to the “terrible mistakes” of Canada, which for centuries has pursued a controversial policy of forced assimilation of the First Nations. Some 150,000 indigenous, Inuit and Metis youth have been taken from their communities and forcibly enrolled in residential schools. Many have been subjected to maltreatment and sexual abuse, and more than 4,000 have died from disease and neglect in schools.