Recovery, Reclamation and Revitalization

The Survivors’ Secretariat was established in 2021 to organize and support efforts to uncover, document and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute during its 136 years of operation.

Survivor-Led
Trauma-Informed
Community-Involved

Supported by Haudenosaunee Law and Legal Principles

Respect for Nationhood and Nation to Nation Diplomacy

Our Mandate

Death Investigation

The Secretariat has appointed an Indigenous Human Rights Monitor and several Cultural Monitors to oversee the Police Task Force* in their search for the unmarked burials of Indigenous children on over 600 acres of land associated with the Mohawk Institute.

Statement Gathering

Thousands of children were taken to Indian Residential Schools, including the Mohawk Institute. The Secretariat will create opportunities for Survivors and intergenerational Survivors to share their statements to inform the truth in a culturally safe and trauma-informed way.

Research and Documentation

The Secretariat will support the creation of a community archive by collecting all related records from governments, churches and other institutions that were known to have been involved in the operations of the Mohawk Institute. It will also support commemoration policies and related activities.

Community Accountability and Advocacy

The Secretariat will report to Survivors, leaders and community members on an ongoing basis and liaises with impacted First Nations by facilitating Nation to Nation dialogues.

Who We Are

The work of the Survivors’ Secretariat is guided directly by Survivors and is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of seven Survivors of the Mohawk Institute with the support and assistance of these administrators and experts.

Board of Directors

Roberta Hill

Roberta Hill

Jerome (Geronimo) Henry

Geronimo Henry

Sherlene Bomberry

Sherlene Bomberry

Robert (Bob) Sutherland

Robert (Bob) Sutherland

Diane Hill

Diane Hill

Anthony (Tony) Bomberry

Anthony (Tony) Bomberry

Dawn Hill

Dawn Hill

John Elliott

Alt: John Elliott

Administrators and Experts

Dr. Beverly Jacobs

Dr. Beverly Jacobs

Indigenous Human Rights Monitor
Laura Arndt Profile Photo

Laura Arndt

Secretariat Lead

Wendy Hill Profile Photo

Wendy Hill

Cultural Monitor
Peter Schuler Profile Photo

Peter Schuler

Cultural Monitor

Our Logo

Discover the creation of the Survivors’ Secretariat logo.

Stay Updated

Share your contact information with us to receive regular updates on the work of the Secretariat, including progress reports, news, invitations to our events, and more. Your personal information will remain completely confidential and will never be shared or sold.

Press Releases

Blog

What was the Mohawk Institute?

Mohawk Institute memorial photo of support with shoes and teddy bears on the front steps
Mohawk Institute memorial photo of support with shoes and teddy bears on the front steps

The Mohawk Institute was an Indian Residential School located in Brantford, Ontario. It was run by the Anglican Church of Canada and the Government of Canada from 1828 to 1970, making it the longest operating residential school in Canada. Between 90 and 200 children were forced to attend the school each year. These children were taken from Six Nations and many other First Nations.

The Mohawk Institute was part of Canada’s national Indian residential school system, which was designed to prevent Indigenous parents from passing on their culture, language, practices and beliefs to their children. Instead, the system worked to assimilate the children into the settlers’ white Christian culture. Attendance was mandatory and children were taken from their families, punished for speaking their own language, and forced to adopt Christian beliefs. The food at the Mohawk Institute was so bad that students called it the “Mush Hole.” Many children experienced physical, sexual, emotional and spiritual abuse at residential schools, including the Mohawk Institute. An untold number of children died and the location of their burials is unknown.

Impacted Communities

The Mohawk Institute took children from Six Nations as well as from many other First Nation communities. The Survivors’ Secretariat was created for all Survivors across the country who attended the Mohawk Institute, and for all Six Nations residential school Survivors who may have attended other residential schools in Canada.

The map below will continue to be updated with new information as we continue to document the school’s impact on Indigenous communities.

The data we have collected involves stories of Survivors who were taken from their communities and forced to attend the Mohawk Institute. As children, these Survivors were placed on unfamiliar modes of transportation, such as trains and planes, and taken to residential schools across the country. These Survivors were often alone, and reported not being able to say good-bye to their families before leaving their communities.

The Survivors’ Secretariat continues to collect data and records on the number of children who attended the Mohawk Institute. Based on the records the Survivors’ Secretariat has collected so far, it is indicated that there are many undetermined communities where children were taken from. At this time, it is unknown as to how many children attended the Mohawk Institute during its time of operation, as well as which community they came from.

total Number CHILDREN Taken

4,642

Nation

Chidren Taken

Abitibiwinni First Nation

4

Alderville First Nation

5

Algonquins of Greater Golden Lake First Nation

4

Aamjiwnaang First Nation

48

Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation

1

Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation

1

Beausoleil First Nation

32

Brunswick House First Nation

1

Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation

35

Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation

2

Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

27

Chippewas of Rama First Nation

13

Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

46

Cree First Nations of James Bay

1

Cree First Nation of Waswanapi

1

Cree Nation of Chisasibi

1

Cree Nation of Eastmain

3

Cree Nation Of Mistissini

60

Cree Nation of Nemaska

3

Nation

Chidren Taken

Cree Nation of Waskaganish

28

Cree First Nation Of Waswanipi

122

Curve Lake First Nation

25

Deer Lake First Nation

18

Delaware Nation of Moraviantown

72

Deshkan Ziibiing Chippewa of the Thames First Nation

1

Eabametoong First Nation

8

Fort Severn First Nation

15

Fort William First Nation

1

Hiawatha First Nation

9

Kanehsatà:ke

3

Kasabonika First Nation

1

Long Lake #58 First Nation

5

Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek / Gull Bay First Nation

2

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation

47

Mishkeegogamang First Nation

25

Mississaugas Of Scugog Island

6

Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation

48

Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne

5

Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke

37

Nation

Chidren Taken

Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte / Tyendinaga

114

Moose Cree First Nation

9

Munsee-Delaware Nation

66

Niisaachewan Anishinaabe Nation

1

Northwest Angle #33 First Nation

1

Oneida Nation of the Thames

96

Saddle Lake Cree Nation

1

Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation

3

Saugeen First Nation

44

Six Nations of the Grand River

898

St Regis Mohawk Tribe

35

Sucker Creek First Nation

1

Tuscarora First Nation

100

Ungava Bay First Nation

1

Wabaseemoong Independent Nation

3

Wahta Mohawks

17

Walpole Island First Nation

102

Wasauksing First Nation

22

Wemindji Cree Nation

1

Wunnumin Lake First Nation

1

CHILDREN TAKEN UNKNOWN COMMUNITIES (No Community Identified)

2360

Last Updated on September 24, 2022