Ottawa – The locating of unmarked burials at former residential school sites across Canada is a tragic reminder of the abuse that many Indigenous children suffered in these institutions. The governments of Canada and Ontario are working with Survivors, Indigenous leaders and affected families and communities to address historical wrongs and the lasting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual harms related to the legacy of residential schools. Part of this work includes the efforts to locate and commemorate missing children who attended residential schools, as well as to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action 72 to 76.
Garden River First Nation is undertaking work related to burial sites associated with Wawanosh Home for Girls. The community-led initiative, called the Survivors Project, will focus on research and knowledge gathering with Survivors, their families and Knowledge Keepers for commemoration and memorialization projects, and will document and video tape fieldwork investigations using global positioning technology.
In addition, Garden River First Nation will establish a Survivors-based protocol for archival research and for interviews with Survivors and their families that ensures the work will follow spiritual, customary, ethical and religious protocols in relation to burial investigations at the former Shingwauk Residential School grounds and surrounding area. This community-led initiative will ensure Garden River First Nation can undertake this work in their own way and at their own pace.
Chief Andy Rickard of Garden River First Nation; Marc Miller, Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations; and Greg Rickford, Ontario Minister of Indigenous Affairs, are announcing funding of $1,485,770 in support of the Garden River First Nation Survivors Project to assist with this important work.
Addressing the harms suffered by Survivors, their families and communities is at the heart of reconciliation and is essential to building and renewing relationships with Indigenous Peoples, governments and all Canadians.