Canada B.C. helps fund searches for Indigenous remains

03:38  21 july  2021
03:38  21 july  2021 Source:   msn.com

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The funding can be used for equipment to help continue with remote learning, or to pay for immediate necessities, like rent, groceries, cellphone bills or childcare. “These additional emergency funds to support B . C .’s Indigenous students are vital right now,” said Scott Fraser, Minister of “No one should have to choose between an education and survival, and these emergency funds will help Indigenous students complete their studies with a better sense of well-being.” To access the funding , Indigenous students can contact the Indigenous Student Service Centre at their school to file an application.

Search . Unmarked graves containing the remains of 215 children have been found in Canada at a former residential school set up to assimilate indigenous people. The news that remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school breaks my heart - it is a painful reminder of that dark and

VANCOUVER — The B.C. government says it will provide immediate funding to 21 First Nation communities to help with searches for human remains at former residential schools or hospitals.

a cup of coffee on a table © Provided by The Canadian Press

Murray Rankin, the minister of Indigenous relations and reconciliation, said on Tuesday that each community can receive up to $475,000 as it carries out searches, planning, technical work and archival research, while also engaging with elders, survivors and other First Nations that have an interest in an area.

No deadline is attached to the grants, he said and the funding is from the $12 million the province announced last month for research at former residential school sites, as well as for mental health and cultural supports for Indigenous communities.

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The remains had been confirmed with the help of ground-penetrating radar technology, Chief Casimir said, following preliminary work on identifying the burial sites in the early 2000s. Indigenous leaders and advocates have said they expect the 215 figure to rise. "Regrettably, we know that many more children are unaccounted for," said Chief Casimir in a statement. Thousands of children died in residential schools and their bodies rarely returned home. Many were buried in neglected graves.

Community leaders say the investigation will continue in conjunction with the British Columbia Coroner's Office and that community and government officials will ensure the remains are safeguarded and identified. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe issued a statement saying that her office is early in the process of gather information. In 2015 Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission released a report detailing the damaging legacy of the country's residential school system. Thousands of mostly indigenous children were separated from their families and forced to attend residential schools.

The government also announced the appointment of Charlene Belleau and Lydia Hwitsum as First Nations liaisons to help the communities as the search for remains continues.

Belleau, 68, said she would like to find the remains of her great-grandfather who took his own life while at St. Joseph's Mission Residential School in Williams Lake, B.C.

The former Chief of Esk'etemc First Nation said finding the remains of Augustine Allen will bring closure for her.

"They buried him there without telling our family," she told a news conference.

"This was during a period of time when flogging was at its worst. They strung our children on poles and lashed them until they passed out."

The Tk'emlups te Secwepemc Nation announced in May that ground-penetrating radar had identified what are believed to be the remains of more than 200 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Several other First Nations have announced similar findings since then.

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All Indigenous communities can apply for funding from a separate 0 million envelope to update or create pandemic plans, get out public health messages and deal with short-term needs, according to Indigenous Services Canada. The funding committed by the federal government can be used to purchase "It remains to be seen how far that will take us and how much relief that will provide in our communities," said Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. "The needs are going to be great, especially in relation to those who have been laid off. The cost of living in our homeland is two

B . C . is home to a diversity of Indigenous people. The Canadian Charter recognizes the Indigenous Peoples of Canada as First Nations (North American Indians), Métis and Inuit. First Nations people live both on- and off-reserves. Métis and Inuit live in urban and rural communities throughout B . C . Indigenous people have distinct cultures, world views, languages and traditions that form a part of the richness of B . C ’s society today.

The final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified up to 6,000 missing children, but anticipated the actual number was greater.

Belleau said another eight-year-old, Duncan Sticks, ran away from St. Joseph's and froze to death. An inquest was held into his death with no results and no change for the residential school for years, she said.

Video: Calls for the Canadian government to provide money for investigations at former residential school sites (Global News)

These stories come from her own experience and from research she undertook to understand what Indigenous communities faced, she said.

Belleau found out about her great-grandfather, who died in the summer of 1920 by eating poisonous water hemlock, through a report she oversaw years later, she said. That's when she asked her mother about it.

"She just said 'Yes, that happened,' but didn't really want to talk about it," Belleau said in an interview.

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This fund can be used for a wide variety of measures such as supporting Elders and vulnerable community members, addressing food insecurity, educational and other supports for children, mental health assistance and emergency response services, preparedness measures to prevent the As the pandemic continues to evolve, the Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that Indigenous leaders have the tools and support they need to implement the various aspects of their pandemic plans. The health and well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis remains the priority of the Department.

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"So, you know, and I think we have to respect that our elders or our parents maybe strong Catholics, and I don't want to insult or hurt her either. So, I just took it that she never said anything, but it was there in black and white for me to see."

Belleau was number 169 when she attended St. Joseph's.

"We've waited for this time for a long time. Through all of those inquiries we told governments, we told churches, our children never came home," Belleau said during the news conference.

"They never believed us. Now we know. Now you know. We have a responsibility to work together to bring our loved one's home."

The liaisons will be there for all nations as they investigate the residential schools in their communities and proceed with healing, she said.

Their Indigenous ancestors had prepared the communities for the "dark times," such as residential schools, the so-called Sixties Scoop and sexual abuse through song and ceremonies, she noted.

It's "great" that what was meant to be destroyed in residential schools such as the language and culture of First Nation communities is now their biggest support, she said.

"Our traditions will now be our greatest strength," Belleau said.

"I encourage our leaders and our families to continue our ceremonies, continue our songs, our sacred fires when it's safe to do so, so that we can continue to honour those children that never came home, and that we will wait to bring home."

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering with trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.

Hina Alam, The Canadian Press

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