OTTAWA, Jan 18 (Prensa Latina) The search for missing Indigenous children and the challenges facing unmarked graves associated with notorious residential schools in Canada were in focus at a meeting that ended today in Vancouver.
The third national meeting on unmarked graves, held in that city of British Columbia from January 16 to 18, was a continuation of similar events held last year in Winnipeg and Edmonton.
Participants exchanged ideas in workshops, breakout sessions and heard from speakers from various organizations on data sovereignty and community control over knowledge and information.
The question of who is the rightful owner and who controls access to records, church archives, plans and other relevant documents has been one of the main obstacles for Indigenous families and communities searching for the remains of their loved ones. Local press highlighted.
Federal Justice Minister David Lammetti announced on June 7, 2022 the appointment of a special interlocutor to coordinate the Government of Canada’s response to unmarked graves discovered at several former residential school sites for Indigenous children.
Lametee appointed Kimberly Murray, a Mohawk woman originally from Kanehustake in the province of Quebec, to lead these efforts for the next two years.
In the 19th and 20th centuries hundreds of thousands of indigenous children were forced by federal authorities to follow an education that sought to banish their languages and cultures in religious and state institutions.
In the last federal budget, Ottawa allocated almost $210 million to invest over five years to help Indigenous communities locate, locate and commemorate burial sites in former residential schools.
The federal government has also allocated funds to pay for the costs of programs that provide essential mental health and cultural services that promote intergenerational trauma recovery in communities.
In March, a fourth meeting focused on the defense of Indigenous law will be held in Toronto.