The Saskatchewan government has committed $2 million to support searches of former residential schools in the province.
First Nations, Métis and Northern Affairs Minister Don McMorris made the announcement Friday afternoon.
McMorris called on the federal government to match this investment.
“In the wake of last month’s discovery at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, it is clear that research and exploration into undocumented deaths and burials must be carried out in Saskatchewan. The $2 million announced today by the province of Saskatchewan will help ensure this work can begin, and help bring peace to those who suffered under the residential school system.”
The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) has already identified the former residential schools of Onion Lake St. Anthony’s, Muskowekwan, Beauval, Guy Hill, Lebret and Sturgeon Landing as sites to investigate.
FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron who was at the news conference sees the money as a good start.
“The Province of Saskatchewan has committed $2 million to begin the work and research necessary to bring these little lost souls some peace. It’s a good start, but much more will need to be done as Saskatchewan had one of the highest numbers of residential schools in the country. This work will take years to complete and proper ceremony and protocol must be followed at every site.”
However, in the wake of the discovery of the Kamloops 215, FSIN is supporting the position of several First Nations to celebrate June 21 and not Canada Day. Lac La Ronge Indian Band which is the largest in Saskatchewan and one of the ten largest in Canada, will be focusing only on National Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday.
FSIN has added their voice to the provincial government calling on the Feds to match the province’s funding to search former residential school sites.