Rainy River FN – When will our Families Heal?


RAINY RIVER – NEWS – Rainy River First Nations (RRFN) will be holding a Community Ceremony tomorrow at the Rainy River First Nations Residential School Monument on Highway 11, commemorating the 150+ youth that went through this system from the community.

The event, named ‘Remembering the Children’, will be hosted by the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRS) Working Group. “We stand in solidarity with the communities and families of the 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia” says Marcel Medicine-Horton, Director of Education for RRFN and spokesperson for the IRS Working Group.

“When will it end? When can our families heal, rest or be able to forge ahead? When can our hearts fill with joy again rather than always being drained, empty and full of despair?” These were strong words spoken by Chief McGinnis. He continued by saying “we feel this horrific discovery is, unfortunately, only the first of many. Many First Nations, including Rainy River First Nations’ survivors and families will be demanding to finally be heard.”

Chief McGinnis added that “in our area, the history of St. Margaret’s Indian Residential School had its share of controversy which was often ignored by Crown governments, the Church, the RCMP and other authorities. While tomorrow is about the 215 children in Kamloops, we will be issuing an action plan on Monday to join with others for what I am sure will be a nationwide First Nation response to investigate and bring justice for this horrific cultural genocide.”

As a result of this tragedy, RRFN is putting the government on notice that these injustices need to be addressed, not just in Rainy River First Nation, but all across Canada. At every First Nations table starting at Grand Treaty #3 and AFN, Rainy River First Nations will work with other Chiefs to bring these demands forward to the government and push them to accomplish these. The demands to the Government of Canada are:

  • Work with all First Nations in Canada to launch an Independent Special Investigation of the Indian Residential Schools and the cultural genocide perpetrated there, in addition, criminal investigations also need to be made into every individual school, their abuses and unexplained deaths, including searching for unmarked graves
  • Officially support the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and demand all 96 Calls to Action be completed immediately, beginning with all Calls to Action dealing with residential schools, as well as providing information on the Commission in a quicker to learn format
  • Call on the Ontario Minister of Education, Stephen Lecce, to fund the development and implementation of a truth-based historical and cultural curriculum, to be developed under the advice and direction of First Nations leadership, particularly within the Rainy River District School Board, jointly funded by Crown governments

Rainy River First Nations extends its condolences to the families of the lost and the survivors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School and will be extending a healing bundle as offering to those families of the 215 children.

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