On June 24, 2021, the Cowessess First Nation and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous First Nation reported the discovery of 751 unmarked graves on the site of the former Marieval residential school. The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (Ontario) expresses its sincere condolences and stands in solidarity with the
Cowessess First Nation and all Indigenous Peoples impacted by this atrocity – a trauma arising from our history of colonialism and structural violence, and standing alongside the recent discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the former Kamloops residential school, the continuing investigation by the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation into the unmarked graves at the former Brandon residential school, and the reasonable and chilling expectation that similar discoveries are still to come.
We stand ready and committed to support our Indigenous allies in holding the responsible governments, institutions and Catholic Church entities to account for their perpetration of systemic oppression and genocide of Indigenous Peoples. FACL acknowledges the federal government’s passage of Bill C-15, which received Royal Assent on National Indigenous Peoples Day. Bill C-15 affirms that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (General Assembly Resolution 61/295, “UNDRIP”) applies in Canadian law and provides a framework for the government’s implementation of UNDRIP. But Bill C-15 does not actually implement UNDRIP.
Concrete action is necessary. FACL once again calls on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to fulfill its their commitment to redress and reconciliation by listening to Indigenous leaders and community members, and by fully implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ 231 Calls for Justice.
To learn more, see the resources provided by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (https://nctr.ca/records/reports/) and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (http://www.trc.ca/reconciliation.html). The National Residential School Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for Survivors and family: 1-866-925-4419.