Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation
For immediate release
August 1st, 2023
Provinces Failure to Protect Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites of former Indian Residential Schools leaves Children’s Remains At Risk and Affected Families without hope
‘Our relatives that are buried there are being treated as hostages,’ Chief Hubert Watt
Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB –The graves of former residential school children located on private property in Brandon, Manitoba which contain the remains of First Nation children from across the province have not been afforded the protection of the Heritage Resources Act which would offer them protection.
While we recognize the land ownership, our position is steadfast. The remains of the children must be protected and the governments of the day have an obligation to do so. Students at the school came from all areas of the Province including northern First Nations communities.
“We have been asking the Province to implement the act to protect the graves of those who perished while attending Brandon Indian Residential school for two years now,” said MKO Grand Chief Garrison Settee. “The crux of the issue is ensuring that the remains of those children are not at risk. Right now they are. We realize this is a complex issue but given the length of time the Province has had to act, we felt we had no recourse but to go public with our plight.”
“We’re never treated right. Our relatives that are buried there are being treated as hostages. Why aren’t our graves being treated with respect? They tried to eliminate our languages there. It seems that this is a continuation of that disrespect,” said God’s Lake First Nation Chief Hubert Watt.
“We feel that it’s vitally important that the burial grounds of the children who died at the schools are protected for the well being of the survivors, their families and our communities,” said Sioux Valley Dakota Nation Chief Jennifer Bone.
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