2 Historic Churches in British Columbia, Canada are Destroyed by Fire on Native Lands - Police Treating the Fires as Suspicious

Canadian news agencies are reporting that two Roman Catholic churches burned to ground on First Nations' land.
Sacred Heart Mission Church on Penticton Indian Band land and Saint Gregory's Church on Osoyoos Indian Band land were destroyed on Monday, June 21, 2021. 

Firefighters hung their jackets on the fence outside what used to be Sacred Heart Church on the Penticton Indian Reserve (picture above). The church was destroyed by a fire around 1:30 a.m. Monday, June 21st.

Two Catholic churches on Indigenous land in the southern Okanagan, Canada, were destroyed by fire. The fires come after the discovery of 215 unidentified graves near the old Kamloops Indian Residential School which have caused great concern among Canadians.
According to Penticton South Okanagan RCMP spokesman Sgt. Jason Bayda, an officer on patrol spotted fire coming from the Sacred Heart Church on Penticton Indian Band land.

Sadly, the Penticton Fire and Rescue were called and arrived to find the church in flames.
Bayda said that at 3:10 a.m. — Oliver RCMP and the Fire Department were notified that St. Gregory’s Church on Osoyoos Indian Band land was also on fire.
Oliver is a 40-minute drive south of Penticton.
“Both churches burned to the ground and police are treating the fires as suspicious,” Bayda said.
The wooden churches were both over 100 years old and are the responsibility of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

“Investigators have and continue to liaise with both the Penticton and Osoyoos Indian bands as we investigate these fires,” Bayda said.
“Should our investigations deem these fires as arson, the RCMP will be looking at all possible motives and allow the facts and evidence to direct our investigative action. We are sensitive to the recent events, but won’t speculate on a motive.”
The discovery of the 215 graves has caused anger directed toward the Catholic Church and the government.
June 21 was National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada.
Father Thomas Kakkaniyil, the priest in charge of St. Gregory’s Church, said Sunday had held the first mass at the church in over a year — due to COVID-19. St. Gregory's was built in 1910 and Sacred Heart followed in 1911.

Edited from the Vancouver Sun/CBC/CTV