Canada supports the Sagkeeng First Nation residential schools missing children initiative

Press Release

From: Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Taking care: We recognize this news release may contain information that is difficult for many and that our efforts to honour Survivors and families may act as an unwelcome reminder for those who have suffered hardships through generations of government policies that were harmful to Indigenous Peoples.

A National Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school Survivors who can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Indigenous Peoples can also access the Hope for Wellness Help Line by phone at 1-855-242-3310 or via online chat through the website at www.hopeforwellness.ca.

May 4, 2022 — Sagkeeng First Nation, Manitoba — Crown–Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The locating of unmarked graves at former Indian residential school sites across Canada is a tragic reminder of the abuse Indigenous children suffered in these institutions. The Government of Canada is working with Survivors, Indigenous leaders and affected families and communities as part of efforts to address historical wrongs and the lasting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual harms related to the legacy of residential schools. Part of this work includes efforts being made to locate and commemorate missing children who attended residential schools, as well as responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 72 to 76.

Sagkeeng First Nation has undertaken work related to Fort Alexander (Pine Falls) Residential School and the search for possible burial sites located on the land. The community-led initiative has involved knowledge gathering from Elders. Field investigation work on areas related to the school site location have been on-going since July, 2021. This work has brought together representatives from more than 30 communities that have been impacted by the residential school for ceremonial purposes.

Today, Chief Derrick Henderson of Sagkeeng First Nation, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced funding of $610,093 from the Residential Schools Missing Children – Community Support Funding program, in support of the Sagkeeng First Nation’s Fort Alexander Residential School Site Ground Penetrating Radar initiative. This funding will further assist with archival research, mental health and wellness supports, and efforts toward memorialization and commemoration of missing children who attended the residential school.

Addressing the harms suffered by Survivors, their families and communities is at the heart of reconciliation and is essential to renewing and building relationships with Indigenous Peoples, governments, and all Canadians.

Quotes

“With the many searches happening at the former residential schools, it is important for Sagkeeng to do what our members have directed us to do. Search the areas and put the issue of “missing children” to rest once we have the results.”

Chief Derrick Henderson
Sagkeeng First Nation

“We acknowledge the leadership of Sagkeeng First Nation as they undertake the important work of locating and commemorating burial sites of children at the former Fort Alexander Residential School. As we continue to address the wrongs done and uncover the truth, we will support Survivors, families and the community of Sagkeeng First Nation; while they work towards healing and closure.”

The Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Quick facts

  • Sagkeeng First Nation is a Treaty-1 and Treaty-3 First Nation community comprised of Anicinabe people who have resided at or near Alexander Reserve Number 3 located along the Winnipeg River and Traverse Bay. Sagkeeng First Nation has a population of approximately 7,637 people, with 3,352 living on reserve.
  • From 2021-22, the Government of Canada is providing support of $610,093.00 through CIRNAC’s Residential Schools Missing Children – Community Support Funding to Sagkeeng First Nation.
  • On August 10, 2021, the Government of Canada announced approximately $320 million in additional support for Indigenous-led, Survivor-centric and culturally informed initiatives and investments to help Indigenous communities respond to and heal from the ongoing impacts of Residential Schools, including $83 million in additional investments towards community support funding for Residential Schools missing children. This $83 million supplements the $33.8 million announced in Budget 2019, for a total investment of $116.8 million responding to Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action 72 to 76.
  • A National Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former Residential School Survivors who can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.
  • The Hope for Wellness Help Line is also available for Indigenous People at 1-855-242-3310 or via the online chat function through their website.

Associated links

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Justine Leblanc
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Marc Miller
Minister of Crown–Indigenous Relations
[email protected]

CIRNAC Media Relations:
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 819-934-2302

Chief Derrick Henderson
Sagkeeng First Nation
[email protected]

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