Call to Action # 75: Actions and Commitments


November 18, 2021

Ahousaht and Christie IRS

Times-Colonist – Ahousaht First Nation is taking its first steps toward searching the grounds of two former residential schools on its territory for human remains. Some buildings of the former school remain on the site, now known as Maatsquiaht, as well as newer buildings.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation found 13 recorded deaths of children at the Ahousaht school and 23 deaths at the Christie school, however the number of deaths at residential schools is believed to be higher than records show.

Both the United Church and Roman Catholic Church have offered some financial support, as well, but amounts are still being negotiated, Atleo said.

August 5, 2021

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

B.C. residential school response fund

First Nations with former Indian Residential School and Indian Hospital sites in or near their communities can now access the B.C. residential school response fund with the added support of two newly appointed First Nations liaisons. The B.C. government has appointed Charlene Belleau (herself a residential school survivor) and Lydia Hwitsum as First Nations liaisons, respected leaders who bring the experience, relationships and expertise needed to advance this critical work. he liaisons will support caretaker communities to connect with provincial and federal agencies, provide advice to the provincial government on former residential school and hospital sites, and serve as a crucial communications link between communities and the provincial government.

July 20, 2021

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

Criteria for B.C. residential school response fund

 B.C. residential school response fund is available to support activities on the sites of former Indian Residential Schools and Indian Hospitals. Up to $475,000 is available for each site. Funding is available for:

  • Mental health and wellness and clinical supports
  • Traditional wellness and cultural supports
  • Archival research
  • Engagement with Elders, knowledge-keepers, survivors, intergenerational survivors and families
  • Engagement with First Nations, local governments and landowners
  • Procurement of technical expertise
  • Communication supports
  • Training and capacity development
  • Planning and project management supports
  • Policy development

May 28, 2021

Kamloops IRS – 200 unmarked graves

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation – National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at UBC – NCTR and IRSHDC re calling on the federal government to work in collaboration with residential school Survivors and Indigenous governments to establish a national framework for investigation and protection of burial sites, consistent with the rights, laws, jurisdiction and protocols of the affected Nations.

July 13, 2021

Kuper Island IRS – 160+ unmarked graves

Kuper Island School on Penelakut Island was operated by the Catholic Church until 1969. Indigenous children from up and down the B.C. coast were sent there, and its remote locations earned it the nickname of “Canada’s Alcatraz”. Archaeological research there began in 2014 as part of the TRC’s work on missing children.

After the TRC reports were completed, a team at the University of British Columbia continued the work of collecting records, interviewing people who live in the village and searching the grounds of the former school using ground-penetrating radar.

June 20, 2021

St. Eugene’s IRS – 182 unmarked graves

St. Eugene’s IRS operated from 1890 to 1970 with children from member bands of Ktunaxa nation, and neighbouring First Nation communities”. The community of Aq’am conducted a search of the schoolgrounds using ground-penetrating radar in 2020 and they are still in the early stages of interpreting the reports from those searches

August 10, 2021

St. Paul’s IRS – 60+ unmarked graves

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) announce an Indigenous-led initiative, on behalf of its people and in partnership with its relatives the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, to find answers about the children who attended the former St. Paul’s Indian Residential School (1899-1959) but never made it home. According to public records, 12 unidentified students died while attending St. Paul’s between 1904 and 1913.

The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw’s goal with the investigation of the former residential school site, located within Squamish unceded territory, is to find the location of each of these children and bring them home to rest.

January 7, 2022

Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

Williams Lake First Nation

CIRNA – $1,912,460 Williams Lake First Nation will undertake work related to burial sites associated with the former St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School. The community is currently completing a preliminary investigation that includes interviews with former students and their families, an initial geophysical survey, and the compilation of archival and photographic records related to the disappearances and deaths of First Nations students at this institution.