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Confirmation of residential school gravesites demands action

June 24, 2021

With the confirmation of gravesites in Kamloops in late May of 2021, investigations are now being carried out across Canada. The announcement of an investigation in Saskatchewan has revealed 751 unmarked graves where children and adults were buried at the Marieval Residential School.

ETFO, alongside the families directly affected and Indigenous communities, mourns the loss of these people, many of whom were children torn from their communities and their cultures. ETFO calls on the federal government to take action on calls 71- 76. Survivors have shared these stories for decades, documentation has been available in the Truth and Reconciliation Final Report, Volume 4.

It is time for the Canadian government to acknowledge the recommendations laid out in Volume 4 with respect to the TRC’s Missing Children and Unmarked Burial Project, and grant the dollars needed to fund the work to bring the remaining missing children home. The burden should not be left to the Indigenous communities to do this work alone.

In 2015, ETFO endorsed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and remains committed to supporting educators, communities, and students in continuing these conversations. ETFO’s Healing Conversations resource supports educators in discussing residential schools, the Sixties Scoop and MMIWG.

The official register of student deaths in residential school is 3200. Justice Murray Sinclair, Chairperson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, has said that the true number may be four to five times that of children’s gravesites would be found at Canadian Residential Schools, and the search for these children is likely to reveal more graves in the coming months and years.
ETFO urges all Canadians to continue the work of reconciliation and take action throughout the year by:

Other resources to support educators in their unlearning, learning and re-learning are available on etfofnmi.ca.