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

Jerome (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

Alt: John Elliott

Alt: John Elliott

Administrators and Experts

Kimberly R. Murray Profile Photo

Kimberly R. Murray

Executive Oversight Lead

Dr. Beverly Jacobs

Dr. Beverly Jacobs

Indigenous Human Rights Monitor
Laura Arndt Profile Photo

Laura Arndt

Chief Operating Officer
Wendy Hill Profile Photo

Wendy Hill

Cultural Monitor
Peter Schuler Profile Photo

Peter Schuler

Cultural Monitor

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

City of Brantford calls on federal and provincial governments and the Anglican church to release Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School records

At their Special Council meeting held Tuesday, May 17, 2022 Brantford City Council unanimously supported a Notice of Motion that calls on the federal and provincial governments, and the Anglican church to respectfully release to the Survivors’ Secretariat immediately, all documents in the possession of the Government of Canada or the Government of Ontario or the Anglican church related to the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School now located on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, within the geographic boundaries of the City of Brantford.

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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 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 is a work in progress as we continue to document the school’s impact on Indigenous communities.

Mohawk Institute map of impacted communities in Ontario and Quebec

1. Aamjiwnaang First Nation

2. Beausoleil First Nation

3. Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation

4. Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation

5. Chippewas of Rama First Nation

6. Cree First Nation of Waswanapi

7. Cree Nation of Chisasibi

8. Delaware Nation of Moraviantown

9. Deshkan Ziibiing Chippewa of the Thames First Nation

10. Fort Severn First Nation

11. Hiawatha First Nation

12. Kasabonika First Nation

13. Mishkeegogamang First Nation

14. Mississauga of the Credit First Nation

15. Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne

16. Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke

17. Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte / Tyendinaga

18. Muncee-Delaware Nation

19. Oneida Nation of the Thames

20. Saugeen First Nation

21. Six Nations of the Grand River

22. Wahta Mohawks