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Researchers to search for remains at Native boarding school

August 23, 2021 GMT

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Researchers are planning to use ground-penetrating radar at the site of a former Indigenous boarding school in southern Utah where tribal leaders say there may be unmarked graves.

Tribal leaders and historians say there may be at least a dozen Paiute children buried in unmarked graves on school grounds located near Panguitch, Utah, The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

Corrina Bow, chairwoman for the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, said boarding school officials would take children as young as 6 years old and force them to work at a farm on the property.

“We were informed that there were bodies buried over there,” said Bow. “But we are not sure until someone comes in and verifies it.”

Utah State University, which leases the site from the state, plans to survey and map the grounds before conducting radar scanning. The school’s anthropology department also said they would be willing to excavate the site if the tribe wanted them to.

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The recent discovery of children’s remains buried at the site of what was once Canada’s largest Indigenous residential school has magnified interest in the troubling legacy both in Canada and the United States.

In June, U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced that the United States will investigate its past oversight of Native American boarding schools.