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For immediate release
September 21, 2022
Treaty Five Territory, Norway House Cree Nation, MB – Norway House Cree Nation (NHCN) will begin its search for any unmarked graves on two former residential school grounds with a traditional ceremony – blessing of the land. A sacred fire was lit on Sunday, September 18th and will remain lit until the ground search begins on the 4th day.
The day will continue with presentations from Chief and Council on the workplan. Stantec, the professional engineering firm, who was hired to conduct the search will also be present. They will present the scope of work with timelines and answer any questions raised by membership.
Chief Larson Anderson with his Council said it is necessary to proceed with this initiative for our community members’ peace of mind and for the residential school survivors/day school attendees and their families to move on in their healing journey.
NHCN Health Division will ensure counsellors are available on site and on call to those who may require the service.
Norway House had two residential schools. One was Rossville School. The Methodist Missionary Society of Canada began operating this northern Manitoba school in 1899. The building burned down in 1913 and a replacement school was opened in the following year. This, too, burned down in 1946 and was replaced in 1954. The residence was converted to a day school in 1967 when the property was transferred to the provincial government.
The other residential school was run by the Roman Catholic Mission. It was originally known as Jack River Annex funded as part of the Cross Lake School. In 1960, the facility was directly funded and became known as the Notre Dame Hostel until June 30, 1967, when NHCN signed an agreement with the Frontier School Division for operation of the school. The search on these grounds will be done in Phase 3.
Councillor David Swanson, Council Portfolio Holder of Education, said the community has been waiting in anticipation for this to occur here ever since the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops in May 2021.
For more information:
Chief Larson Anderson
Councillor David Swanson