The children found on Thursday were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia that closed in 1978. Some were as young as three years old.
Canada’s residential schools were compulsory boarding schools run by the government and religious authorities during the 19th and 20th Centuries with the aim of forcibly assimilating indigenous youth.
Kamloops Indian Residential School was the largest in the residential system. Opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890, the school had as many as 500 students when enrolment peaked in the 1950s.
The central government took over administration of the school in 1969, operating it as a residence for local students until 1978, when it was closed.
In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – set up to examine the history and impact of the residential schools – reported that the system amounted to “cultural genocide”.