Statement on Cowessess First Nation’s Finding at Former Site of the Marieval Indian Residential School

Cowessess First Nation announced yesterday that they have found 751 unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. These graves were found as part of an investigation that began earlier this month that utilized ground penetrating radar technology.

Cowessess Chief Cadmus Delorme noted during yesterday’s press conference that it is not immediately clear if there are duplicates in the graves and the number will be confirmed. The children who were sent to the school were from First Nations in southeast Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba but records are sparse to non-existent. The Marieval Residential School operated from 1899 to 1997.

Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council would like to extend its deepest condolences to Cowessess First Nation, Survivors, and to all communities and families impacted by this heartbreaking discovery.

“The emotional devastation felt by these findings is being felt across Turtle Island. Six Nations stands in solidarity with Cowessess First Nation, the families impacted by this loss, and with all Survivors who may be struggling with this difficult news,” said Elected Chief Mark B. Hill. “The ongoing work to find our lost children is going to be tough. We understand that more of these findings will be brought to light, and we must lean on one another as Ogwehoweh as we work to bring these children home and heal together.”

The Saskatchewan announcement comes only a month after the remains of 215 children were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School. Six Nations continues to call on the provincial government and Canada to provide adequate resources to conduct investigations at all former residential school sites.
Community members are reminded that if they need support, there are resources available to help you:

  • Six Nations 24/7 Mobile Crisis Line: 519-445-2204 or 1-866-445-2204
  • Six Nations Mental Health and Addictions: 519-445-2143 (Monday-Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm)
  • National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community continues to be in our thoughts, as are all other communities, families, Survivors, and individuals who are trying to comprehend the scope of the atrocities committed against our people. This is genocide. Six Nations continues to send good thoughts and good medicine their way.