Wolastoqey Nation calls on N.B. government to search former property of Sussex day school
SAINT JOHN, N.B. -- The Wolastoqey Nation is calling on the New Brunswick government to conduct an investigation, including the use of ground-penetrating radar, at the site of the former Sussex Indian School.
The call follows the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
Although New Brunswick did not have residential schools of its own, it did have day schools. The Sussex school closed its doors in 1826 after around 30 years of operation, and former Lt.-Gov. Graydon Nicholas says it leaves a disturbing legacy.
"There were really serious problems," Nicholas said. "There was a lot of neglect, there was a lot of abuse -- especially of the women -- and mostly the students were expected to be helpers on the farms that existed or chop wood."
The provincial government has committed to looking into its own history of day schools, but there are few details.
The premier says government is arranging a conference call with the New Brunswick chiefs.
"It's traumatic to see what's happening in Kamloops and think that's possible in other parts of the county," said New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs. "I think we want to know what role did New Brunswick play."
The Wolastoqey Nation has also requested an investigation and ground-penetrating radar at the Shubenacadie residential school, as many people from New Brunswick were sent there.