Call to Action # 75: Actions and Commitments


June 21, 2021

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

Funding for ‘identification, investigation, protection and commemoration’ of residential school burial sites

Toronto Star – Ontario government “has committed $10M over the next three years on the ‘identification, investigation, protection and commemoration’ of residential school burial sites across the province…The TRC working group on missing children and unmarked burials identified 12 residential school burial sites ‘with varying degrees of certainty’ before completing their work in 2015. The TRC “had determined that at least 3,200 children died in residential schools, including 426 in Ontario. In nearly a third of the deaths, the name of the child wasn’t recorded; nearly half did not list a cause of death. (Since 2015 the National Centre for truth and reconciliation ha added 980 names to its memorial register, and its work is ongoing.

  • Chapleau
  • Fort Albany
  • Fort Francis
  • Fort William
  • Kenora
  • MacIntosh
  • Moose Factory
  • Sault Ste. Marie (2)
  • Spanish (2)

January 27, 2022

Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

Garden River First Nation

Jan. 27, 2022: $1,485,770 for the “The Garden River First Nations Survivor Fund” is undertaking work related to burial sites associated with Wawanosh Home for Girls, on research and knowledge gathering with Survivors, their families and Knowledge Keepers for commemoration and memorialization projects, and will document and video tape fieldwork investigations using global positioning technology.

In addition, Garden River First Nation will establish a Survivors-based protocol for archival research and for interviews with Survivors and their families that ensures the work will follow spiritual, customary, ethical and religious protocols in relation to burial investigations at the former Shingwauk Residential School grounds and surrounding area.

February 7, 2022

Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

Grassy Narrows First Nation – $157,000 funding to research gravesites at the former McIntosh Residential School in Northwestern Ontario. The school, founded by Roman Catholic missionaries, was located 30 kilometres northwest of Vermilion Bay. It operated from 1925 to 1969. “We will take steps to commemorate and memorialize the children that died while attending McIntosh Residential School so that they will always be remembered,” he said.

October 29, 2021

IRS Survivor Support Funding

Government of Ontario is funding over $20 million in Indigenous-focused mental health and addictions programs and services to directly support Indian residential school survivors. The funding will ensure culturally appropriate, trauma-informed supports are available to both First Nations and urban Indigenous organizations as critical work is undertaken to investigate and commemorate former Indian residential school sites across Ontario.

December 16, 2021

Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

Lac Seul First Nation

Sioux Lookout Bulletin – $1M funding for Lac Seul First Nation who will engage with 33 affiliated northern Ontario communities to establish cultural and spiritual protocols in working with Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, knowledge keepers and leaders to address the location, documentation, mapping, maintenance and commemoration/memorialization of burial sites associated with the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School.

June 1, 2021

Mohawk Institute : “The Mush Hole”

Toronto Star – One of the oldest residential schools opened in 1829 and was operated by the Anglican Church before being taken over by the federal government in 1885. History of escapes from the school are well documented, as are stories of physical and sexual abuse and of malnutrition. The latter complaint earned the school the nickname “the Mush Hole”

November 9, 2021

Mohawk Institute begins search for unmarked graves

Mohawk Institute – The search for unmarked graves at the former Mohawk Institute in Brantford, Ontario has begun. The Joint Police Task Force began their work this morning by combing the search grid with the use of ground-penetrating radar technology.

August 16, 2021

Mohawk Institute creating a Survivors’ Secretariat

Mohawk Institute is creating a Survivors’ Secretariat to commence a death/criminal investigation. The Mandate of the Survivors’ Secretariat includes coordinating death investigation processes and protocols, conducting Statement Gathering, document collection and historical research, supporting commemoration initiatives, and liaising with First Nations, provincial, and federal governments.

The Survivors’ Secretariat is currently working to put in place an Indigenous Human Rights Monitor and a Cultural Monitor to oversee the work of the Joint Police Task Force.  Survivors and community members have been clear, the Joint Police Task Force must be Survivor-led.  These two monitoring roles, once in place, are essential to ensuring that Indigenous legal principles, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and cultural protocols are respected.

July 19, 2021

Mohawk Institute: investments for “Save the Evidence” project

The Government of Canada is investing over $7.6 million in the “Save the Evidence” project through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing more than $1.8 million, while the Woodland Cultural Centre is contributing $378,437.

The work will allow the Woodland Cultural Centre to restore the Mohawk Institute Residential School site, allowing it to open as a national historical cultural site for public education and healing.

January 24, 2022

Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

Six Nations of the Grand River

$10,259,9753 in funding over three years

The Survivors’ Secretariat at Six Nations of the Grand River and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced funding through the Residential Schools Missing Children – Community Support Funding program to assist with this important work.The Survivors’ Secretariat will coordinate with Survivors and engage with communities to locate, document, map, maintain and commemorate burials associated with the Mohawk Institute. This Survivor-led process will ensure that this sacred work is done in a way that supports the wishes of Survivors.