Statement Regarding the Tseshaht First Nation Research Findings at the Site of the Former Alberni Residential School

February 22, 2023 

The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC (the Centre) shares in deep sadness with all impacted by the announcement from Tseshaht First Nation regarding the location of 17 potential unmarked graves at the site of the former Alberni Indian Residential School (AIRS), and the research findings that identified at least 67 deaths at the school. 

We offer our sincere condolences and support to Chief Councilor waamiiš (Ken Watts) and members of the Tseshaht First Nation, members of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council (NTC), former students of the school and their families, and the approximately 100 home communities from which children were taken to attend the school. We stand in support of all who lost loved ones, and honour the children who never returned home. And we walk alongside the Tseshaht Nation as it continues its investigations. 

The research findings are yet another reminder that the wounds created by former residential schools are ever present and reopened with each uncovering of devastating truths. With this in mind, the Centre echoes NTC President Judith Sayers in her call to all Canadians to “stand with us and condemn the practice of genocide, racism, discrimination and hatred and ensure these incredible wrongs can be addressed to the satisfaction of our people.”  

View the NTC Statement about the research findings. 

The Centre wishes to acknowledge the impacts that ongoing searches have on all 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.