We call upon the federal government to work with churches, Aboriginal communities, and former residential school students to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current UpdateJan. 10, 2022IN PROGRESS
Previous UpdateDec. 5, 2021IN PROGRESS

Why “In progress”?

Budget 2019 announced $33.8 million over 3 years starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020 to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register as well as establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries. No specifics identifying what the government is doing, with whom, by when. The federal government released $27M in unused funding from this budget allocation to assist communities in the search for additional graves. (C2A # 74, 75)

Actions to Establish and Maintain an Online Registry of Residential School Cemeteries

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB)
May 10, 2017 – CCB in consultation with the Canadian Catholic Aboriginal Council and Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle, is proposing that Catholic dioceses/eparchies, parishes, missions and organizations offer assistance on identifying, documenting, commemorating and protecting residential school cemeteries and related burial sites. Our Lady of Guadalupe Circle is the recently established Catholic coalition of Indigenous people, Bishops, clergy, lay movements and institutes of consecrated life, engaged in renewing and fostering relationships between the Catholic Church and Indigenous people in Canada.

Maamiikwendan: Remembering Residential Schools & Cemeteries as Indigenous Sites of Conscience
Oct. 16 – 17, 2019 – Presented by National Indigenous Residential School Museum of Canada, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and National Trust for Canada. Maamiikwendan aims to connect Indigenous groups and other organizations actively working to preserve Indigenous sites of conscience, and to open up participation to interested NGOs, faith groups, government representatives, and National Trust conference delegates. This event will create a space for dialogue, learning, and networking among groups who are doing similar work in their respective communities. Discussions will highlight challenges, solutions, cultural considerations, and best practices.

Maamiikwendan will create the groundwork for an Indigenous network of groups working on commemorating and researching Indian Residential Schools and Cemeteries. It will strengthen community connections and accelerate dialogue, not only among community groups, but for the NCTR, National Trust, governments, church groups, and all others playing important roles in the TRC’s Calls to Action. 

Official Federal Government Response: “Modified”June 11, 2021 – but nothing changed from Sept. 5, 2019

Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada has begun discussions with various partners, internal and external to the federal government, towards collaborating on an engagement strategy to gain a better understanding of the range of Indigenous family and community needs and interests and about how best to move forward in a comprehensive manner on all of the calls to actions regarding children who died or went missing while attending Indian residential schools (Calls to Action 72 to 76).

In addition, Budget 2019 announced $33.8 million over 3 years, starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020, to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register and work with parties to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries.