Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 76: Missing Children and Burial Information (71-76)

Federal Government National Advisory Committee and Special Interlocutor

August 11, 2011

Toronto Star – The federal government announced that they will create a national advisory committee, made up of archeology, forensic, pathology and mental health experts, to advise Indigenous communities and the government about the work to find and identify the children.

“They will evaluate federal laws, policies and practices surrounding unmarked and undocumented graves and burial sites at residential schools and set out responsibilities for their protection.” David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General said Canada currently does not have the necessary legal tools to deal with the complex issues presented by the finding of unmarked graves.

The Special Interlocutor’s mandate will evolve as discussions with Indigenous communities and leaders take place in the coming weeks. For now, it is expected that the Special Interlocutor will:

  • Identify needed measures and recommend a new federal legal framework that respects and preserves the dignity of burial sites of Indigenous peoples, in line with the wishes and traditions of communities and families. This work will apply Indigenous legal orders, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, and other international norms and instruments. Recommendations should identify core elements of a new framework that: 
  • preserves the dignity of Indigenous children and communities; and
  • sets out responsibilities for unmarked burial sites.
  • Facilitate dialogue with provinces and territories for matters arising within their jurisdiction and with other relevant institutions, including churches.
  • Establish a relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canada as it relates to unmarked burial sites that: 
  • facilitates communications between Indigenous peoples and the Government;
  • is based on developing and strengthening trust;
  • uses engagement processes that are culturally-appropriate; and,
  • can serve as a model for future initiatives or lead to recommendations for a new approach to engagement on issues of common concern to the Government and Indigenous peoples.