Task force preparing for ground search at former Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ont.
A special task for is preparing to search the grounds at the former Mohawk institute Residential School in Brantford, now known as the Woodland Cultural Centre.
Before the formal investigation begins, crews must get trained on the equipment.
On Wednesday, Six Nations Police worked with ground penetrating radar at Chiefswood Park in Oshweken.
“It’s like a fish finder but for the earth,” said Arnold Jacobs with Six Nations Police.
Arnold said a lot can be found underground with the machine.
“Clothing, a wood stick, a root, diminishes even more to like water because our bodies are made up the majority of water,” he said.
The community fears unmarked graves could lurk below the surface of the former residential school.
“It was in existence from 1830. So we’re talking many years,” said Beverly Jacobs, the Survivors' Secretariat's Indigenous Human Rights Monitor.
The group said the thought of what might be found there is bringing up many emotions.
“It makes me feel sad. It makes me feel angry. Angry that this happened. That they got away with it. That is a human rights violation. That it is murder,” Beverley said.
Survivors were also at the training session. Among them was Geronimo Henry, who said said he was at the school from 1942 to 1953 starting from when he was only six years old.
“We used to go to the dump to get food because they didn’t feed us,” said Henry.
He said he and many other kids were abused at the residential school and he still lives with the trauma.
“There was a physical, mental, psychological stuff and then sexual. That stuff it doesn’t go away when you leave the school, even if you try to get counselling,” Henry said.
Six Nations Police said community members are welcome to attend the next training session as volunteers will be needed to search the grounds. As for when the formal search will begin, Six Nations Police said it is not yet known.
The hope is that whatever painful past is uncovered it will lead to confirmation and some form of closure for survivors and the community.