Statement Regarding the Finding of Unmarked Graves by the Kapawe’no First Nation

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre is saddened by the findings of 169 potential unmarked burial sites at the former Grouard Mission / St. Bernard’s Indian Residential School site. We express our deep condolences and support to Chief Sydney Halcrow and members of the Kapawe’no First Nation, as well as the other First Nations and Métis Peoples whose lives were impacted by the school.

The investigation was conducted by the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology at the University of Alberta using ground-penetrating radar and a specialized drone. The search area was determined based on testimonies of former students and will be expanded in the coming months.

As the Kapawe’no Nation and other Indigenous communities continue their investigations into grave sites and search for missing children across the country, the Centre wishes to emphasize the responsibility of the country’s political and religious institutions to support the process.

We also wish to acknowledge the impacts that these ongoing searches have on Indigenous peoples and communities, and to encourage Survivors and community members to seek the care they need through this challenging time. The Indian Residential School Survivor Support Society has established a 24-hour Crisis Line for former students and their families: 1-866-925-4419. Find additional wellness resources and supports.

Photo from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: