For immediate release

June 19, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. Grand Chief Garrison Settee has sent MKO’s third request since June, 2021 to Canada’s Minister of Justice and Prime Minister Trudeau to investigate the Indian Residential School System as a Crime Against Humanity Pursuant to the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

This request has been sent on behalf of our citizens who are survivors and living witnesses of the Indian Residential School system, and on behalf of their families and communities.

Canada has failed to, or has refused to, substantively respond to MKO’s requests of June 3, 2021 and April 15, 2024 that Canada investigate the Indian Residential School System as a Crime Against Humanity and as a genocide.

However, a recent statement attributed to the Prime Minister by the Canadian Press and as appears in the Globe and Mail on June 16, 2024 clearly compels Canada to commence an investigation.

“Regardless of what a given person or a given country around the world might think of the causes of the war, or the responsibility that Russia wields, everyone can agree that taking kids away from their families, trying to erase their language, their culture – that’s an element of genocide,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-trudeau-says-russia-needs-to-be-accountable-for-genocide-of-taking/

Prime Minister Trudeau made this comment while the Prime Minister was in Obbürgen, Switzerland on June 15 and 16, 2024 attending the Summit on Peace in Ukraine.  the Summit on Peace in Ukraine was attended by more than 90 world leaders and was convened immediately following the conclusion of G7 Leaders’ Summit held in Apulia, Italy on June 13 and 14, 2024.

MKO agrees that under accepted international law and the domestic law of Canada that “taking kids away from their families, trying to erase their language, their culture” is an act of genocide.  This statement also frames the intent of the Government of Canada in enacting several successive amendments to the Indian Act to establish the Indian Residential School system and in authorizing and funding the operation the IRS system.

It is also the unanimous assessment and opinion of the House of Commons that the Indian Residential School system is an act of genocide.  On October 27, 2022, the House of Commons, including the Members of Parliament of the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, the Conservative Party, the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party unanimously adopted the following Motion:

“That, in the opinion of the House, the government must recognize what happened in Canada’s Indian residential schools as genocide, as acknowledged by Pope Francis and in accordance with Article II of the United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”

In light of the publicly announced opinion of the Prime Minister that “taking kids away from their families, trying to erase their language, their culture – that’s an element of genocide” and the unanimous determination and opinion of the House of Commons that “what happened in Canada’s Indian Residential Schools is a genocide”, MKO submits that Canada is now compelled and must act to commence an investigation of the Indian Residential School System as a Crime Against Humanity – and now as a genocide – pursuant to the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

If Canada refuses to commence an investigation of the Indian Residential Schools system pursuant to Canada’s domestic law and in the event that Canada declines to make a self-referral of the matter of the Indian Residential Schools to the International Criminal Court for investigation, MKO will pursue the matter of Canada’s failure to commence or request an investigation of these matters with the United Nations Human Rights Council.  MKO will request that the Human Rights Council consider the matter and recommend that the matter be referred to the United Nations Security Council for referral by the Security Council to the International Criminal Court for investigation.

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For more information:

Naomi Clarke, Communications Officer

Email: [email protected]

Web: https://mkonation.com/