Investigation of unmarked graves and burial grounds at the Brandon Indian Residential School

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Nichols, Katherine Lyndsay
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The purpose of this thesis is to identify the names of the students who died while attending the Brandon Indian Residential School (BIRS) and determine the location of the school’s burial grounds along with the number of unmarked graves on the school property. My research project uses mixed methods including; archival research, qualitative interviews, Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR), Electromagnetic Ground Conductivity (EM38), control burns, and aerial photography to systematically survey the school’s burial grounds. My investigation into the deaths and burials of BIRS students aligns closely with a larger project being conducted by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) Working Group on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials (n.d.). This Working Group attempts to locate the burial grounds for the Indian residential schools across Canada and identify the names of the students who died at the schools in the archives. This research was conducted in collaboration with Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, the University of Manitoba, Brandon University, the United Church of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and in consultation with the TRC, Manitoba Historic Resources Branch, and Brandon Research Centre. By using an applied anthropological approach my thesis works to contribute to the ongoing TRC’s Missing Children’s Project. It is my hope that this research can assist the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation with future restoration, protection and commemoration plans.
Indian Residential School, Unmarked Graves, Non-Invasive Methods