The Government of Canada and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation announce the new National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials
July 20, 2022 — Ottawa, ON — Unceded Traditional Territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabeg Nation – Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
Thousands of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children never returned home from residential schools. Many were buried in gravesites that are unrecorded, unmarked and unprotected.
Today, the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Stephanie Scott, Executive Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), announced the establishment of the National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials to ensure Indigenous communities have access to independent, trusted and expert information in their efforts to identify, locate, and commemorate their missing children.
The National Advisory Committee brings together individuals with a wide-range of experience and expertise in areas such as Indigenous laws and cultural protocols, forensics, archeology, archival research, criminal investigations, communication and working with Survivors. The National Advisory Committee is guided by a Circle of Survivors, comprised of two First Nations Survivors, two Inuit Survivors, and two Métis Nation Survivors.
On July 19, 2022, the National Advisory Committee held its inaugural meeting where they discussed how to best support the work already being undertaken by Survivors, their families and communities. Through engagement with Indigenous communities and organizations, the National Advisory Committee will help ensure that First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation governments and communities have access to the best available information to support their efforts.
Addressing the harms suffered by Survivors, their families and communities is at the heart of reconciliation and is essential to renewing and building relationships between Indigenous Peoples and all Canadians.
“The National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials will provide a wide range of expertise to First Nations, Inuit, and Métis. As Indigenous communities undertake the difficult and essential work to locate and commemorate burial sites at former residential schools, the National Advisory Committee will ensure Indigenous-led and culturally sensitive technical advice is available to support their work. We are committed to addressing the harms done and the abuse of Indigenous children, to support communities as they work towards healing.”
The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
“Too many children were denied the final dignity of being laid to rest according to their own customs and traditions. Too many families and communities have never been able to find their loved ones who didn't come home from residential school. I have had conversations with countless First Nations, Inuit and Métis Nation communities who are grappling with difficult questions about how they can find and honour their lost children. This Committee will help meet a crucial need for advice that is comprehensive, up-to-date and above all else trustworthy. It will be part of the important healing journey to honour the little ones.”
Executive Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
“My heart goes out to all those families and communities who are seeking answers about the children who never came home. This is important heart work. I see the National Advisory Committee as a much-needed resource to support families and communities to make the decisions that are right for them.”
Terri Brown, Circle of Survivors member
The members of the National Advisory Committee on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials are:
- Elder Madeline Basile (Atikamekw)
- Elder Harley Crowshoe (Blackfoot)
- Elder Verna DeMontigny (Red River Métis)
- Crystal Fraser (Gwichyà Gwich’in)
- Raymond Frogner (Cree)
- Rebekah Jacques (Métis)
- Andrew Martindale
- Brenda Reynolds (Saulteaux)
- Kisha Supernant (Métis/Papaschase)
- Kona Williams (Cree and Mohawk)
The members of the Circle of Survivors are:
- Larry Ahenakew, Métis, Île-à-la-Crosse, SK
- Jack Anawak, Inuit, Iqaluit, NU
- Jacquie Bouvier, Métis, SK
- Terri Brown, Tahltan Nation, BC
- Lillian Elias, Inuvialuit, Mackenzie Delta, NT
- Romeo Saganash, Cree First Nation of Waswanipi First Nation, QC
The Government of Canada and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation will support the National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials as co-administrators.
Establishing the National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials directly responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions #74 to 76 on residential schools Missing Children and Burial Information.
For more information, media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
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