July 16th, 2021
July 16th, 2021
SIOUX LOOKOUT – MPP Sol Mamakwa (Kiiwetinoong) expressed his solidarity with the people of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation after they released their report Thursday outlining the preliminary findings of a search of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School property.
“We wish to express our solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and thank them for sharing the findings of their report, the Kamloops Indian Residential School Le Estcwéý (The Missing) Report. We honour the calls of Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc asking the government and the Catholic church again to provide records and resources as they continue the work to uncover potential burial sites near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The reports preliminary findings confirmed the existence of 200 burials. We are grateful to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc for their leadership in doing this painful work. Their results today are foundational for all First Nations in Ontario.”
The Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) and Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority (SLFNHA) with Lac Seul First Nation organized an initial gathering on July 14 called 'Bring our Children Home' at the Pelican Falls school site and the Lac Seul events centre. They held discussions between residential school survivors, forensic experts, and church and government representatives. There is much work to be done to search the other sites of former Indian Residential Schools in the north, including Stirland Lake, Cristal Lake, Poplar Hill and McIntosh, as well as the former Indian Hospital in Sioux Lookout.
“We must support Lac Seul First Nation, NNEC and SLFNHA in the work they are doing for the Pelican Falls site. We must do our best to work with Indigenous experts in fields like forensics and archeology. This means that we take their advice and design processes that will honour our ways of life and these ancestors that we are working to bring home. But most importantly the process must be led by survivors and their families and our community leaders.”
In Ontario there are 18 residential school sites identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These schools operated with federal government support and does not represent the total number of residential schools that existed in Ontario.