Residential schools began operating in the 19th century as part of a policy of forcibly assimilating people from various indigenous communities into Western culture of the European colonists and missionaries. Upwards of 150,000 students were forcibly removed from their homes and parents, often forbidden to communicate in their own languages, and subject to physical, and sometimes sexual, abuse. A Truth and Reconciliation Commission concluded that at least 4,100 students died while at the schools. The Kamloops School became the largest in the system. In May 2021, a survey using ground-penetrating radar identified as many as 215 potential juvenile burial sites at Kamloops – confirming reports from oral histories.