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Feds 6 months late on payments to Mohawk Institute Residential School survivors group

Indigenous AffairsFeds 6 months late on payments to Mohawk Institute Residential School survivors group

The group responsible for finding unmarked graves at the site of a former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford says the federal government isn’t holding up its end of the arrangement.

The survivor-led group says they’ve been waiting over six months for more than $2 million.

Dianne Hill still remembers the day she was brought to the former Mohawk Institute Residential School on November 23rd, 1963 at the age of seven.

“Hell on earth. Sheer hell. I was physically assaulted my first night,” Hill said.

Hill talked of the horrors she endured during her time there, beatings, burnings, and death threats.

Hill wants to be the voice for children who didn’t survive, that number is now believed to be close to 100.

Hill is part of the Survivors’ Secretariat, a group of former residents charged with finding any unmarked graves on the 600-acre property.

The group can’t continue its’ search without the $10.2 million from the federal government. $2.5 million of which has already been given, a second similar installment is six months late.

“We need this government to keep the promises. How are we going to achieve reconciliation? We’re doing our part to look for unmarked graves, they should do their part,” Geronimo Henry said.

The survivors CHCH News spoke with say the delay in funding is insulting and hurtful and they have no idea what the holdup is.

“This is punitive, it’s like we’re being punished again,” Hill said.

The group was hoping to get two acres searched with ground-penetrating radar before winter, but without the funding that won’t be possible.

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada responded to our questions late this afternoon and said the delay is because the Survivors’ Secretariat needed to become incorporated before they could receive the funding, and now that it has, the money should be released soon.

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