The Manitoba Heavy Construction Association wishes to publicly acknowledge the pain and suffering of Indigenous peoples, and supports the call for investigations in the wake of the recent discovery of unmarked burials of children forced to attend the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said May 22 that preliminary findings from a ground-penetrating radar survey indicated the remains of 215 children were buried at the former residential school grounds.
The Kamloops school was one of 139 residential schools operated with federal government support between 1870 and 1997. In 1898, an Indian Act amendment made attendance of First Nations children compulsory.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and its successor National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation have determined more than 4,100 children died of various causes at the schools, including disease and malnourishment. Residential school survivors have testified under oath that children died of other causes, such as physical abuse, at the schools.
The MHCA acknowledges the pain of First Nations people. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous people in asking Canada to ensure that all deaths of children at Indian Residential Schools are investigated and all unmarked burials are found, documented and marked.
The MHCA is a signatory to the Winnipeg Indigenous Accord and commits to continue its efforts to support reconciliation of the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada.
Nicole Chabot, G.S.C.
Chair, MHCA Board
Vice-President, L. Chabot Ent.
Chris Lorenc, B.A., LL.B.,
For additional information on the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools, including the deaths of children, the MHCA suggests these resources:
- Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Volume 4
- Statement by the Hon. Murray Sinclair, former Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada