Call to Action # 75: Actions and Commitments


June 23, 2021

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

Alberta Residential Schools Community Research Grant

Alberta’s government is providing $8 million to fund the Alberta Residential Schools Community Research Grant that is open to Indigenous communities and groups that will lead the research into undocumented deaths and burials in residential schools. Grant funding will be available to Indigenous communities and organizations for the following purposes:

  • Community-driven research, including gathering oral histories and knowledge of elders (as appropriate).
  • Community-led engagement to determine how communities wish to proceed with a burial site.
  • Use of ground-penetrating radar and other technologies to explore potential unmarked burial sites.
  • Partnering with experts experienced in locating human burials.
  • Maintenance and commemorative work, such as installation or restoration of grave markers, placement of memorials or commemoration events.

Individual applications can receive up to a maximum of $150,000. Applications are now available and will be accepted until Jan. 15, 2022.

August 17, 2021

Grouard Indian Residential School

Kapawe’no First Nation welcomed a team from the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology at the University of Alberta to assess the site of the Grouard Residential School Aug. 10 to 12. Located nearly 400 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, the school operated from 1894 to 1957. By 1949, Métis students accounted for half of the student body in residence.

The First Nation is working with the Grouard community, other Indigenous leaders at Treaty 8 and the Métis Nation of Alberta, as well as the Grouard Catholic Church and archbishop.

March 1, 2022

Grouard IRS (St. Bernard’s IRS)

Grouard IRS (AKA – St. Bernard’s IRS – The Kapawe’no First Nation in northern Alberta announced the discovery of 169 potential unmarked graves on the former grounds of the St. Bernard’s IRS

October 26, 2021

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

Heritage Preservation Partnership Program: IRS Support Funding

EverythingGP – Each of the nine has received $30,000 from the provincial government following a funding commitment earlier this year through the Heritage Preservation Partnership Program.

Much of it is also being done in partnership with the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology (IPIA) at the University of Alberta, and led by Dr. Kisha Supernant. According to the IPIA, a report could take up to three months.

  • Ermineskin Cree Nation
  • Louis Bull Tribe
  • Métis Nation of Alberta
  • Montana FN
  • Paul FN
  • Saddle Lake Cree Nation
  • Samson Cree Nation
  • Stoney Nakoda FN: Bearspaw
  • Chiniki, Wesley
  • Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake FN #128

October 13, 2019

Red Deer Indian Industrial School

Founded in 1892, considered one of the most atrocious examples of the suffering, abuse and neglect rampant in the Canada’s residential school system, the school operated until 1918. The school was plagued by widespread disease, a defective sanitation system that led to further contamination and illness, overcrowding and one of the highest mortality rates of any such school in Canada. About 350 children attended the school. (Toronto Star – Edmonton)

Confirmed GravesEstimated Graves
2050 – 70

October 18, 2021

Red Deer IRS

Ground-penetrating radar work begins as part of larger collaboration across Alberta agreed upon by nine First Nations groups.

July 27, 2020

UCalgary researcher developing strategy to digitally archive residential school sites

Other News

A UCalgary researcher is working with a number of partners across Canada to develop a strategy for digitally archiving the physical structures of the few remaining residential schools in Alberta. Two former provincial residential schools — Old Sun Community College and University nuhelot’įne thaiyots’į nistameyimâkanak Blue Quills — will be digitally captured by Blackfoot and Cree students working with University of Calgary researchers in archaeology (Dawson), computer science (Dr. Faramarz Samavati, PhD) and geomatics engineering (Dr. Derek Lichti, PhD).