March 1, 2022 (Kapawe’no First Nation, Treaty 8) – The painful results of ground penetrating radar (GPR) and specialized drone to identify anomalies that have traits associated with graves has been received. The work was undertaken to help identify First Nation, Métis and Inuit children who never made it home from the former residential school site.
As Survivors have always known, the findings of the phase one survey at the former Grouard Mission site are tragic. The areas searched were based on the testimonies of Survivors and engagement with community members. The report has found 169 anomalies that have traits associated with graves were discovered. The remains of even one child is heartbreaking, 169 potential remains are incomprehensible.
“The grief of finding our stolen children has opened fresh wounds as we remember the horror and devastation our People felt when our children were forcibly removed from their families and communities to institutions known as residential schools.”
“The grief of finding our stolen children has opened fresh wounds as we remember the horror and devastation our People felt when our children were forcibly removed from their families and communities to institutions known as residential schools,” said Kapawe’no First Nation Chief Sydney Halcrow. “We can now begin our collective healing and honour the lives of these children so they can finally rest in peace. We honour all Elders and Survivors who have bravely shared their truth with us-truths that were not believed or acknowledged for many, many years. We are forever grateful for their forced sacrifice and unparalleled courage.”
‘The validation of Survivor’s claims to their experiences endured at these so-called schools provides space for our community to participate in collective healing,” said Treaty 8 Grand Chief Arthur Noskey. “Now that we have reviewed the results of the report, our People can begin our path of emotional, physical, mental and spiritual healing. The path is long, but now we can begin our first step towards restoring our Nation’s spiritual wellbeing.”
Dr. Kisha Supernant, Director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, University of Alberta and her team completed the first phase of GPR in October, 2021. Kapawe’no First Nation will be conducting phase 2 and 3 to further research other land based on the testimonies from Survivors.
Indigenous children were taken from their families and communities across Western Canada and the Northwest Territories to attend residential schools as part of Canadian law and policies, including the Indian Act which made attendance compulsory for all First Nations children. It is unknown how many children attended the Grouard Mission.
The report and a documentary about the process at the former Grouard Mission Site have been made available online.
Please see a list of health supports:
Indian Residential Schools Survivors (National): 1-800-721-0066
Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Crisis Line (National): 1-866-925-4419
Hope For Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
Non-Insured Health Benefits Program Toll-Free Line: 1-800-232-7301
Mental Health Helpline: 1-877-303-2642
Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266
Addiction Hotline: 1-866-332-2322
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-721-0066
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