Skip to content

Lower Post postpones school demolition ceremony after animal remains found

Northern B.C. community cancels plans, forensic analysis confirms remains not human.
British Columbia Premier John Horgan, centre, wearing a blue jacket, is drummed into the Lower Post Residential School by Kaska drummers in Lower Post, B.C., on Orange Shirt Day in a 2019 handout photo. A ceremony to mark the demolition of a former residential school building in a remote British Columbia community has been postponed following the discovery of remains by construction workers that turned out to be those of an animal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Manu Keggenhoff MANDATORY CREDIT

A ceremony to mark the demolition of a former residential school building in a British Columbia First Nation community has been postponed after animal remains were found by construction workers.

The ceremony in the tiny community of Lower Post near the B.C-Yukon boundary was set for Monday, but the band council said in a statement it cancelled the gathering because of the discovery.

Last April, the federal and B.C. governments announced the construction of a $13.5-million, multipurpose community centre to replace the building many local elders feared as a place where they suffered physical and sexual abuse.

The Daylu Dena Council said Friday a recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in Yukon and the “trauma” caused by the discovery of the remains led to the decision to postpone the ceremony.

The council said the RCMP started an immediate investigation and conducted a forensic analysis of the remains, confirming they were not human.

Premier John Horgan said in a statement the province supports the decision to make the well-being of the community the priority.

“As soon as the community decides when to reschedule this important ceremony, I will be honoured to accept their invitation to attend the demolition of the Lower Post residential school, a building that should have been removed years ago,” he said.

The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: Remains of 215 children found at former B.C. residential school an ‘unthinkable loss’