Federal Politicians Speak on Cowessess First Nation Discovery of 751 Unmarked Graves

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Marieval Indian Residential School
Marieval Indian Residential School

OTTAWA – Statements from the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties over the news of 751 bodies being discovered in unmarked graves at the Indian Residential School in Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan are being issued.

Prime Minister Trudeau

“I am terribly saddened to learn that the remains of children had been found in unmarked graves near the former Marieval (Cowessess) Residential School in Saskatchewan. My heart breaks for the Cowessess First Nation, and for all Indigenous communities across Canada.

“No child should have ever been taken away from their families and communities, and robbed of their language, culture, and identity. No child should have spent their precious youth subjected to terrible loneliness and abuse. No child should have spent their last moments in a place where they lived in fear, never to see their loved ones again. And no families should have been robbed of the laughter and joy of their children playing, and the pride of watching them grow in their community.

“I recognize these findings only deepen the pain that families, survivors, and all Indigenous peoples and communities are already feeling, and that they reaffirm a truth that they have long known. The hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear, and the government will continue to provide Indigenous communities across the country with the funding and resources they need to bring these terrible wrongs to light. While we cannot bring back those who were lost, we can – and we will – tell the truth of these injustices, and we will forever honour their memory.

“The findings in Marieval and Kamloops are part of a larger tragedy. They are a shameful reminder of the systemic racism, discrimination, and injustice that Indigenous peoples have faced – and continue to face – in this country. And together, we must acknowledge this truth, learn from our past, and walk the shared path of reconciliation, so we can build a better future.”

If you need someone to talk to, please reach out to the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, which is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole

Erin O’Toole, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, issued a statement following the heartbreaking discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan:

“Today, the Cowessess First Nation confirmed the heartbreaking news of the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.

“Canada’s Conservatives acknowledge the deep sorrow and mourning that all Indigenous people and survivors of Residential Schools are experiencing at this time, and our hearts grieve for the Cowessess First Nation and the surrounding Indigenous communities who are sharing in this trauma.

“This discovery is a somber reminder that so much more work needs to be done to address the devastating and harmful effects that residential schools had, and still have, on many survivors today.

“Conservatives have called for a swift timeline and funding to deliver on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action 71 to 76 involving missing children and providing healing for families. We pledge our support for this effort and again ask for Prime Minister Trudeau to take action ahead of Canada Day to support the Indigenous communities, and our country, in mourning.”