Métis Local 1904 St. Albert – Sturgeon County Response to Unidentified Residential School Graves
Posted on: Jun 30, 2021
It has been over a month since the 215 unidentified graves were discovered at the Kamloops Residential School site. Since then, approximately 751 unidentified residential school graves have been uncovered at the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan.
Collectively our hearts are broken. Our Métis elders and Métis citizens in St. Albert – Sturgeon County, grieve with those in Kamloops and Cowessess. All those impacted are in our prayers, and we stand in solidarity with all communities in Canada that have or will be impacted by the devastating Residential School policy.
As the local governance of the St. Albert-Sturgeon County Métis community, we acknowledge our responsibility to be a strong advocate for the work ahead of us. In the coming weeks and months, we will be approaching local First Nations leadership to discuss how best we can work together to ensure our First Nation and Métis children are identified and honoured. We will collaborate to create a lasting legacy for those buried at the St. Albert Youville Residential School site as well as the newly identified burial area at Riverlot 56.
We know we cannot do this alone and are in the early stages of developing a project plan and subsequent budget as well as partnerships to support this important work. In order to accomplish this this much needed work, we will be partnering with Dr. Kisha Supernault, Director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology, at the University of Alberta. We will work with Dr. Supernault’s team to conduct research and ground penetrating radar to identify any unmarked and unidentified graves.
We could not do this without the Metis Nation of Alberta (MNA) Leadership support. MNA President Audrey Poitras stated: “The Métis Nation of Alberta stands with the Métis community in St. Albert, as represented by Métis Local 1904. MNA Region 4 Vice-president Gary Gagnon and I are in discussions about how we can support Local 1904 in this work. Our Métis citizens and children should not get lost in the broader discussions related to residential schools. That’s why it’s important we do the ground truthing to identify any children buried in unmarked graves in the St. Albert area. We will work to identify them, acknowledge their existence by telling their story and hopefully have those stories contribute to the healing within our families and to the process of reconciliation that needs to happen, and is happening”.
If the information and material contained here triggers unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact the 24 hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you require emotional support.