Call to Action # 75: Actions and Commitments

Commitments to Residential School cemeteries

March 23, 2022


$2.5M in funding to Indigenous communities

Govt. of Manitoba – The Manitoba government has committed $2.5 million to support the identification, investigation, protection and commemoration of the children who died attending residential schools. To date, the Government of Canada has provided $3.9 million to Indigenous communities within Manitoba. As of December 2021, six First Nation communities in Manitoba are actively carrying out searches at various locations using ground-penetrating radar technology.

Members shared the following priorities:

  • that searches are high quality and inclusive of families of missing children and survivors;
  • that trauma informed, culturally appropriate healing and mental wellness supports are widely accessible and available, particularly for survivors and families;
  • the recognition that efforts respect the cultural protocols, traditions and laws distinctive to each nation; and
  • that locations where children are buried are protected and accessible to families wanting to pay their respects.

June 23, 2021


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 5, 2021


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


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

June 21, 2021


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)

October 26, 2021


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

June 15, 2022


Manitoba Government allocates $2.5 Million for the Identification, Commemoration and Protection of Burial Sites of Children Who Attended Residential Schools

NationTalk: The Manitoba government and the First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis Council on Residential Schools is allocating $2.5 million to Indigenous governments and organizations to co-develop Indigenous-led approaches to find and memorialize missing children and promote collective healing and reconciliatory action, Premier Heather Stefanson and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere announced today.

“Every child matters, and it is our duty as Manitobans and Canadians to help First Nations, Inuit and Métis reclaim the dignity of these children who were tragically taken from their families and communities because of the residential school system,” said Stefanson. “Today’s announcement reaffirms our government’s commitment to reconcile historic wrongs and work collaboratively with Indigenous families, survivors, leadership and communities to support this important process of truth-telling and healing.”

In June 2021, Manitoba committed $2.5 million in funding to begin the collaborative work to identify and memorialize children who did not return home from residential schools.

“Manitoba recognizes the search for children who died attending residential schools must be Indigenous-led and will require distinctions-based approaches,” said Lagimodiere. “This involves continuous engagement and ongoing collaboration with First Nations, Inuit and Métis leadership, families, survivors, knowledge keepers and elders. We are flowing the funding directly to key Indigenous governments and organizations to enhance resources, support communities and build structures that prioritize families and survivors at the heart of this work. This approach will strengthen community efforts as they lead their own processes.”

Allocated funding will support initiatives requiring extensive participation from Indigenous governments and community organizations, residential school survivors, families, elders and knowledge keepers, the premier noted. The allocations have been determined through the First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis Council on Residential Schools and in ongoing dialogue with First Nation communities that are carrying out active searches.

“It is time for all levels of government to support First Nation families and communities,” said Grand Chief Garrison Settee, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. “We must work to help the spirits of our children come home to rest. It is time to right the wrongs. It is time for our people to author the narrative of our history. It is our history, it is our truth, it is our children, it is our spirit, it is our healing and it is our time to lead. For many years, our elders have told us of the unmarked graves they knew were at residential schools. We now have the ability to bring the truth to light and through technology, we can now help the spirits of our children to rest. Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak will continue to honour our children by following our protocols and using our ceremonies that they were denied. When directed by the First Nations, we will work to repatriate the remains of our children who are buried in unmarked graves, away from their home communities. We will work to ensure First Nations have the opportunity to memorialize their children and create commemorations in honour of our ancestors who died at residential schools.”

“This critical work is just the latest example of how we must do all that we possibly can to honour those who attended the residential schools, their families and the thousands of children who never returned home,” said Grand Chief Jerry Daniels, Southern Chiefs’ Organization. “I am pleased to see our relatives and partners, including our treaty partners, coming together to ensure we continue to acknowledge the genocidal history and legacy of the residential schools and locating those who are missing remains a vital component of the truth and reconciliation process.”

The funding will be distributed as follows:

$2 million shared equally among the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak and the Southern Chiefs’ Organization;
$240,000 shared equally between the Manitoba Métis Federation and Manitoba Inuit Association;
$60,000 to Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, an independent First Nation not represented by any other organization, that has worked over the last decade to find children who died attending Brandon Residential School; and
$200,000 to be held by the Southern Chiefs’ Organization to establish commemorative gathering places and monuments through an organizing subcommittee.

These allocations are based on agreed principles, priorities and considerations shared by the council including:

  • proportional representation of First Nations, Inuit and Métis children who attended Indian residential schools;
  • engaging directly with communities, families and survivors for guidance;
  • bringing together communities with missing children and those with active searches; and
  • developing commemorative places in support of healing, truth-telling and education.

In Manitoba, there are 18 locations of former residential schools with 11 sites where First Nations have signaled their intention to search or are actively searching using ground-penetrating radar technology. To date, efforts highlight the number of children who died at these schools in Manitoba is much higher than the 338 deaths originally reported by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, noted the premier.

In March 2022, the formation of the First Nations, Inuit and Red River Métis Council on Residential Schools was announced. To learn more, visit

Other Actions and Commitments By Theme

Fed Govt Nat. Advisory Committee & Interlocutor

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Disbursements of fed. funds to find unmarked graves

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TABLE: Discoveries of unmarked graves at Residential Schools

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Discoveries of unmarked graves at Residential Schools

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