The official Twitter account of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights tweeted last weekend, “It has been two years since the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.”

This declaration, which the Museum has so far left up, is false in every sense. 

No remains have been found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in BC, as no excavations have taken place. 

The figure of “215 children” that went viral was actually later downgraded to “200 targets of interest” by lead researcher Dr. Sarah Beaulieu of the University of the Fraser Valley, who was hired by the Tk’emlups First Nation to conduct ground-penetrating radar (GPR) work on the former school grounds. 

Because no excavations have taken place, there is no way to claim with absolute certainty that “missing children” are buried in the soil: what people are referring to as “unmarked graves” are actually soil disturbances detected by GPR. 

Beaulieu herself cautioned that only a forensic investigation could confirm that these disturbances were indeed burials, as the radar cannot see bones or bodies. 

Independent researchers Nina Green and Kam Res (the pseudonym of an anonymous architectural consultant) have posited that the soil disturbances in question are due to septic field drainage tiles. Dr. Sarah Beaulieu has not released her full GPR report, so we do not know whether she was aware of the documentation of the septic system. 

As Brian Giesbrecht of the Indian Residential Schools Research Group has written, “There is no credible evidence that even one residential school child was killed and secretly buried anywhere in Canada. None of the accusations made at Kamloops or elsewhere meet even the basic standards of evidence.”

“Yes, students succumbed to diseases common at that time, as did everyone else – but particularly Indians on reserves. Yes, many of their graves were untended, and have now been lost in time. Yes, children were sexually abused at the schools – mostly by fellow students. But residential schools were never places of murder and secret burial.” 

The last time Beaulieu presented her GPR research findings was at a press conference in July 2021. Since then, Beaulieu has been silent on the matter, and not open to questions about her work. 

Back in 2021, Canadian flags at official buildings and schools were flown at half-mast for several months, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation Day was established (which Trudeau infamously celebrated with a surfing vacation in Tofino), and many became convinced that Canada is a genocidal state. 

“We’re in the same place as we were two years ago,” says Dr. Frances Widdowson, fired professor of Mount Royal University.

“But there is a bit of correction that’s happening in the media… the word ‘suspected’ is being put in front of ‘graves.’ Media and politicians are recognizing that we don’t have actual evidence of burials.” 

Widdowson suspects that the Tk’emlups Nation ignored the two-year anniversary of their original May 27, 2021 announcement that they uncovered “the remains of 215 children” because their research is shoddy and they’re hoping people will stop looking into the matter.

True North reached out to Dr. Sarah Beaulieu and the Tk’emlups Nation for comment, but did not receive a response. 


  • Lindsay Shepherd

    Lindsay holds an M.A. in Cultural Analysis and Social Theory from Wilfrid Laurier University. She has been published in The Post Millennial, Maclean’s, National Post, Ottawa Citizen, and Quillette.