Canada supports Survivors research and commemoration activities around former residential school site

Taking care: We recognize this news release may contain information that is difficult for many and that our efforts to honour Survivors and families may act as an unwelcome reminder for those who have suffered hardships through generations of government policies that were harmful to Indigenous Peoples.

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school students who can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Indigenous Peoples can also access the Hope for Wellness Help Line by phone at 1-855-242-3310 or via online chat through the website at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER — CROWN-INDIGENOUS RELATIONS AND NORTHERN AFFAIRS CANADA — 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 Government of Canada is 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 efforts being made to locate and commemorate missing children who attended residential schools, as well as responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 72 to 76.

The Survivors’ Secretariat at Six Nations of the Grand River is undertaking work related to unmarked burials associated with the former Mohawk Institute Residential School. Today, Kimberly R. Murray, Executive Lead for the Survivors’ Secretariat and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced funding of $10,259,975 over three years through the Residential Schools Missing Children – Community Support Funding program to assist with this important work.

The Survivors’ Secretariat will coordinate with Survivors and engage with communities to locate, document, map, maintain and commemorate burials associated with the Mohawk Institute. This Survivor-led process will ensure that this sacred work is done in a way that supports the wishes of Survivors.

Addressing the harms suffered by Survivors, their families and communities is at the heart of reconciliation and is essential to renewing and rebuilding relationships with Indigenous Peoples, governments, and all Canadians.

“This funding is an important step in the journey to bring our lost children home. I would like to thank Minister Miller for the Government’s aid in this important work as we continue to seek justice for Survivors. Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council remains committed to supporting the mandate of the Survivors’ Secretariat and will continue to collaborate with all levels of government as the investigation continues.”
— Chief Mark Hill, Six Nations of the Grand River

“The truth of our experiences must be told, and this highlights the importance of why this work must be Survivor led. Our voices must be heard as we begin the work related to unmarked burials.”
— Sherlene Bomberry, Board of Directors, Survivors’ Secretariat Six Nations of the Grand River

“Six Nations of the Grand River, those who attended the institution and their families deserve to find out the truth, and we remain committed to supporting those efforts as they work toward healing and closure.”
— The Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

To access the French version of this press release, please click here.

Quick Facts

  • The Survivors’ Secretariat is a Survivor-led initiative established in 2021. The Secretariat coordinates protocols and processes associated with death investigations and facilitates the gathering of community and Survivor statements as they work to document and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute during its 136 years of operation.

  • The Police Task Force was created in 2021 to investigate the deaths of children who died while attending the Mohawk Institute; its work is overseen by the Survivors’ Secretariat. Visit our website for more information about the Secretariat: https://www.survivorssecretariat.ca/

  • On August 10, 2021, the Government of Canada announced approximately $320 million in additional support for Indigenous-led, Survivor-centric and culturally informed initiatives and investments to help Indigenous communities respond to and heal from the ongoing impacts of residential schools.

  • To date, $116.8 million has been committed to support First Nation, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families and communities toward locating and commemorating missing children who attended residential schools.

  • National Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school students who can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available for Indigenous People at 1-855-242-3310 or via the online chat function through their website.

About:

The Survivors’ Secretariat is a Survivor-led initiative established in 2021. The Secretariat coordinates protocols and processes associated with death investigations and facilitates the gathering of community and Survivor statements as they work to document and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute during its 136 years of operation. The Police Task Force was created in 2021 to investigate the deaths of children who died while attending the Mohawk Institute; its work is overseen by the Survivors’ Secretariat.