Doorways of Saskatoon Catholic church lined in paint after information of unmarked graves

Handprints painted in red and the words “We were kids” covered the doors of St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral in downtown Saskatoon Thursday evening after news of an estimated 751 unmarked graves on the former site of the Marieval Indian Residential School on Cowess’s First Nation got known .

Bishop Mark Hagemoen of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon said he was at the Holy Family Cathedral Thursday evening when he heard the news of the events.

“The rector called me because he was concerned about the paint being spread at the entrance and the threat of violence that appeared to be developing in relation to some of the interactions outside the cathedral,” Hagemoen said.

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An estimated 751 unmarked graves found in the former residential school in Saskatchewan

“[From] As far as I know, the police were there and got to the St. Paul’s entrance pretty quickly. People were very concerned about the disfigurement, destruction and damage. “

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Hagemoen said he believed there were people in the church at the time of the event.

“Tensions are high, but I think that needs to be understood somehow,” said Hagemoen.

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“Indigenous and non-indigenous people and Catholics have a real heart for what is going on right now in light of the larger context of the discovery.”

Hagemoen said there is a reconciliation commission within the Roman Catholic Church made up of elders and other indigenous and non-indigenous peoples working together.

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“They made us believe we had no souls” – Saskatchewan residential school survivors speak out

“This reminds me … of finding out the truth about who and the circumstances of the burial of Indian residential schools and then moving to a place of honor,” Hagemoen said.

The latest discovery comes weeks after 215 unmarked burial sites were reported in a Kamloops dormitory.

Saskatoon police confirmed their presence to Global News in an email statement on Friday, saying they had been in contact with both church officials and protesters.

“It is assumed that two people were involved in applying the paint; however, a larger group was present for the demonstration. No charges were brought, ”the police said.

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The painting of the church has since been removed.

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Cowesss First Nation announces the discovery of 751 unmarked graves in the former Saskatchewan residential school

Cowesss First Nation Announces Discovery of 751 Unmarked Graves in Saskatchewan’s Former Residential School – June 24, 2021

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