The Ontario government is providing $1,300,000 to the Survivors’ Secretariat at the Six Nations of the Grand River to support the early stages in their confirmation of unmarked burials at the former Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School.
This is the first step in Ontario’s commitment to support the complex work ahead, recognizing that work will be a multi-year endeavor requiring substantive and flexible resources to support affected Survivors, families and communities.
The Survivors’ Secretariat is a Survivor-led organization with a mandate to coordinate death investigation protocols and processes.
“This is important work, sacred work. We have not had the healthiest of relations, we hope, this changes moving forward. We remind Ontario we need answers, that is what matters. And don’t forget, in our cultural ways, all children are valued,” said Diane Hill, Board Member, Survivors’ Secretariat.
Mark Hill, elected Chief of Six Nations of the Grand River added, “I would like to thank the Ontario government and Minister Rickford for this funding to support the important work of the Survivors’ Secretariat in bringing our children home. Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council remains committed to supporting the mandate of the Survivors’ Secretariat and maintains an open dialogue with all levels of government as we continue to seek justice for Survivors.”
Funding will support research and document collection, technical expertise and purchase of equipment needed for ground searches and communication and engagement with Leadership and community members on the work of recovering the missing children. This includes searching an area of approximately 600 acres by utilizing technologies such as ground penetrating radar.
“Our government is committed to supporting the Survivors’ Secretariat’s complex work to uncover, document and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School during its 136 years of operation,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Indigenous Affairs. “We continue to welcome a dialogue with the leaders of Six Nations and the Survivors’ Secretariat about issues that are important to their community, including the confirmation of unmarked burials at the former Mohawk Institute.”
The painful legacy of the Mohawk Institute has resulted in direct and ongoing intergenerational trauma for Survivors and affected families and communities. It is important that all of us in Ontario continue to deepen our collective understanding of the legacy of the Indian Residential School system.