were forced to attend residential schools in a forced assimilation program. Most of these schools were operated by churches, and all of them banned the use of Indigenous languages and Indigenous cultural practices, often through violence. Disease, as well as sexual, physical and emotional abuse were widespread. An estimated 150,000 children passed through the schools between their opening and their closing in 1996.

  • The Missing Children: A National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up as part of a government apology and settlement over the schools, concluded that at least 4,100 students died while attending them, many from mistreatment or neglect, others from disease or accident. In many cases, families never learned the fate of their offspring, who are now known as “the missing children.”
  • The Recent Discovery: In May, members of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation found 215 bodies at the Kamloops school — which was operated by the Roman Catholic Church until 1969 — after bringing in ground-penetrating radar.
  • ‘Cultural Genocide’: In a 2015 report, the commission concluded that the system was a form of “cultural genocide.” Murray Sinclair, a former judge and senator who headed the commission, recently said he now believed the number of disappeared children was “well beyond 10,000.”
  • Apologies and Next Steps: The commission called for an apology from the pope for the Roman Catholic church’s role. Pope Francis stopped short of one, but the archbishop of Vancouver apologized on behalf of his archdiocese. Canada has formally apologized and offered financial and other search support, but Indigenous leaders believe the government still has a long way to go.
  • In September 2017, Mr. Trudeau acknowledged the nation’s past “humiliation, neglect and abuse” of Indigenous people, and vowed in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly to improve their lives.

    Pope Francis has still not taken that step. By contrast, the leadership of the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, apologized in 1998 for its role in running the schools.

    Since the Kamloops announcement, Chief Cameron said, he has been traveling around the province, where farming and mining are major industries, looking at former school sites.

    “You can see with your plain eye the indent of the ground where these bodies are to be found,” he said in an interview Wednesday night. “These children are sitting there, waiting to be found.”

    Vjosa Isai in Toronto contributed reporting.

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    A Fading Coal County Bets on Schools, but There’s One Big Hitch

    “I hear it from kids all the time: I want to get out of here,” said Kristin Johnson, a 24-year-old middle school teacher at Mount View who lives in Princeton, W.Va., about an hour’s drive away, and is itching for a teacher job to open there. “Those who do get an education know they can make more money somewhere else.”

    Ms. Keys returned, in part, out of loyalty. “When I was in high school, we started losing a lot of teachers,” she said. “People feared there would be nobody there to take those jobs.” But a stable teaching job, as well as free housing at her grandmother’s old house, played into her calculations.

    This may not be enough to hold her, though. Even dating locally is complicated. Her boyfriend lives over an hour away, outside Beckley. “There is nobody here that is appealing,” Ms. Keys said.

    Consider Emily Hicks, 24, who graduated from Mount View in 2015. She is at the forefront of Reconnecting McDowell’s efforts, an early participant in the mentoring program meant to expand the horizons of local youths.

    She didn’t even have to leave home to get her bachelor’s degree at Bluefield State College, commuting from home every other day. Today she teaches fifth grade at Kimball Elementary School. Her father is a surveyor for the coal mines; her mother works for the local landfill. But her boyfriend, Brandon McCoy, is hoping to leave the coal business and has taken a couple of part-time jobs at clinics outside the county after getting an associate degree in radiology.

    Her brother, Justin, who graduated from high school in June, is going to college to get a degree in electrical engineering. “I have no idea what I’m going to do after that,” he said. “But there’s not a lot to do here.”

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    Tasked to Fight Climate Change, a Secretive U.N. Agency Does the Opposite

    LONDON — During a contentious meeting over proposed climate regulations last fall, a Saudi diplomat to the obscure but powerful International Maritime Organization switched on his microphone to make an angry complaint: One of his colleagues was revealing the proceedings on Twitter as they happened.

    It was a breach of the secrecy at the heart of the I.M.O., a clubby United Nations agency on the banks of the Thames that regulates international shipping and is charged with reducing emissions in an industry that burns an oil so thick it might otherwise be turned into asphalt. Shipping produces as much carbon dioxide as all of America’s coal plants combined.

    Internal documents, recordings and dozens of interviews reveal what has gone on for years behind closed doors: The organization has repeatedly delayed and watered down climate regulations, even as emissions from commercial shipping continue to rise, a trend that threatens to undermine the goals of the 2016 Paris climate accord.

    One reason for the lack of progress is that the I.M.O. is a regulatory body that is run in concert with the industry it regulates. Shipbuilders, oil companies, miners, chemical manufacturers and others with huge financial stakes in commercial shipping are among the delegates appointed by many member nations. They sometimes even speak on behalf of governments, knowing that public records are sparse, and that even when the organization allows journalists into its meetings, it typically prohibits them from quoting people by name.

    Homes are washing away. Much of the nation could become unlivable in the coming decade.

    was almost denied a seat. International Registries, which represented the Marshall Islands on the I.M.O., initially refused to yield to the foreign minister, Mr. Woodroofe recalled.

    United Nations climate meetings, countries are typically represented by senior politicians and delegations of government officials. At the maritime organization’s environmental committee, however, one in four delegates comes from industry, according to separate analyses by The New York Times and the nonprofit group Influence Map.

    Representatives of the Brazilian mining company Vale, one of the industry’s heaviest carbon polluters and a major sea-based exporter, sit as government advisers. So does the French oil giant Total, along with many shipowner associations. These arrangements allow companies to influence policy and speak on behalf of governments.

    Connections can be hard to spot. Luiz Gylvan Meira Filho sat on the Brazilian delegation in 2017 and 2018 as a University of Sao Paulo scientist. But he also worked at a Vale-funded research organization and, during his second year, was a paid Vale consultant. In an interview, he described his role as mutually beneficial: Brazilian officials relied on his expertise, and Vale covered his costs.

    “Sometimes you cannot tell the difference. Is this actually the position of a nation or the position of the industry?” said David Paul, a Marshallese senator who attended an I.M.O. meeting in 2018.

    Hundreds of other industry representatives are accredited observers and can speak at meetings. Their numbers far exceed those of the approved environmental groups. The agency rejected an accreditation request by the Environmental Defense Fund in 2018.

    Industry officials and the maritime organization say such arrangements give a voice to the experts. “If you don’t involve the people who are actually going to have to deliver, then you’re going to get a poor outcome,” said Guy Platten, secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping.

    openly opposed strict emissions regulation as a hindrance to economic growth. And an informal bloc of countries and industry groups helped drag out the goal-setting process for three years.

    Documents show that China, Brazil and India, in particular, threw up repeated roadblocks: In 2015, it was too soon to consider a strategy. In 2016, it was premature to discuss setting targets. In 2017, they lacked the data to discuss long-term goals.

    a Cook Islands diplomat.

    The I.M.O. almost never puts environmental policies to a vote, favoring instead an informal consensus-building. That effectively gives vocal opponents blocking power, and even some of the agency’s defenders acknowledge that it favors minimally acceptable steps over decisive action.

    So, when delegates finally set goals in 2018, Mr. de Brum’s ambition had been whittled away.

    The Marshall Islands suggested a target of zero emissions “by the second half of the century” — meaning by 2050. Industry representatives offered a slightly different goal: Decarbonization should occur “within” the second half of the century, a one-word difference that amounted to a 50-year extension.

    Soon, though, the delegates agreed, without a vote, to eliminate zero-emissions targets entirely.

    What remained were two key goals:

    First, the industry would try to improve fuel efficiency by at least 40 percent. This was largely a mirage. The target was set so low that, by some calculations, it was reached nearly the moment it was announced.

    Second, the agency aimed to cut emissions at least in half by 2050. But even this watered-down goal is proving unreachable. The agency’s own data say emissions may rise by 30 percent.

    When delegates met last October — five years after Mr. de Brum’s speech — the organization had not taken any action. Proposals like speed limits had been debated and rejected.

    What remained was what several delegates called the “refrigerator rating” — a score that, like those on American appliances, identified the clean and dirty ships.

    European delegates insisted that, for the system to work, low-scoring ships must eventually be prohibited from sailing.

    China and its allies wanted no such consequence.

    So Sveinung Oftedal of Norway, the group’s chairman, told France and China to meet separately and compromise.

    Delegates worked across time zones, meeting over teleconferences because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Shipping industry officials said they weighed in through the night.

    The Marshallese were locked out.

    “We’re always being told ‘We hear you,’” Mr. Ishoda said. “But when it comes to the details of the conversation, we’re told ‘We don’t need you to contribute.’”

    Ultimately, France ceded to nearly all of China’s requests, records show. The dirtiest ships would not be grounded. Shipowners would file plans saying they intended to improve, would not be required to actually improve.

    German delegates were so upset that they threatened to oppose the deal, likely triggering a cascade of defections, according to three people involved in the talks. But European Union officials rallied countries behind the compromise, arguing that Europe could not be seen as standing in the way of even limited progress.

    “At I.M.O., that is as always the choice,” said Damien Chevallier, the French negotiator. “We have the choice to have nothing, or just to have a first step.”

    All of this happened in secret. The I.M.O.’s summary of the meeting called it a “major step forward.” Natasha Brown, a spokeswoman, said it would empower customers and advocacy groups. “We know from consumer goods that the rating system works,” she said.

    But the regulation includes another caveat: The I.M.O. will not publish the scores, letting shipping companies decide whether to say how dirty their ships are.

    Ms. Kabua, the Marshallese minister, is under no illusions that reclaiming the diplomatic seat will lead to a climate breakthrough.

    But if it works, she said, it might inspire other countries with private registries to do the same. Countries could speak for themselves rather than through a corporate filter.

    Regardless of the outcome, the political winds are shifting. The European Union is moving to include shipping in its emissions-trading system. The United States, after years of being minor players at the agency, is re-engaging under President Biden and recently suggested it may tackle shipping emissions itself.

    Both would be huge blows to the I.M.O., which has long insisted that it alone regulate shipping.

    Suddenly, industry officials say they are eager to consider things like fuel taxes or carbon.

    “There’s much more of a sense of momentum and crisis,” said Mr. Platten, the industry representative. “You can argue about, ‘Are we late to it,’ and all the rest. But it is palpable.”

    Behind closed doors, though, resistance remains. At a climate meeting last winter, recordings show that the mere suggestion that shipping should become sustainable sparked an angry response.

    “Such statements show a lack of respect for the industry,” said Kostas G. Gkonis, the director of the trade group Intercargo.

    And just last week, delegates met in secret to debate what should constitute a passing grade under the new rating system. Under pressure from China, Brazil and others, the delegates set the bar so low that emissions can continue to rise — at roughly the same pace as if there had been no regulation at all.

    Delegates agreed to revisit the issue in five years.

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