The Board of Governors, Senior Management, staff, and students of the First Nations University of Canada offer its support to Cowessess First Nation and other First Nations communities affected by the recent development. The grief and trauma are resurfacing for many residential school survivors and families with the official announcement of the 751 unmarked graves discovered on the former Marieval Residential School site, now the community gravesite on Cowessess First Nation.
Elder Florence Sparvier of Cowessess First Nation shared her experience during the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) press conference held Thursday morning. Elder Florence demonstrated the strength and resilience of our people through her message. Children from various communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba attended Marieval Residential School.
Less than one month ago, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia released the news of the remains found of 215 children on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds. The revelation created a worldwide reaction to the truth and history of Indian Residential Schools and the effects intergenerational trauma has had on our people.
The provincial governments have committed to providing financial supports to all First Nations communities to investigate undocumented deaths and burial sites. Over the past few weeks, First Nations communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have uncovered remains or unmarked graves by using ground-penetrating radar. The numbers are expected to climb as more First Nations use this technology to explore unmarked graves at former residential school locations across Canada.
We will continue to honour the children, their memory, and all residential school survivors and families.
FNUniv will announce activities on how we can support the communities in the coming days.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School Survivors and their families. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling 24-Hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.
The National Centre for Truth & Reconciliation Hope for Wellness 24/7 help line is 1-855-242-3310.