Mohawk Institute – Survivors’ Secretariat Creates Oversight of Police Task Force
Survivors of the Mohawk Institute at Six Nations of the Grand River are pleased to announce that they have hired Kimberly R. Murray as the Executive Oversight Lead to assist them with creating a Survivors’ Secretariat to commence a death/criminal investigation.
Ms. Murray is the former Executive Director to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, where she assisted the Commission in fulfilling its mandate. Kimberly was also the first Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Indigenous Justice Division at the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. Her experience and knowledge of the Indian Residential School system, the historical records, and the legal landscape is a tremendous asset to the Survivors.
Mohawk Institute Survivor Roberta Hill stated, “It’s really hard to find the right words to describe our feelings about this enormous work ahead because there are so many emotions we still have – so many unthinkable things happened at that place [Mush Hole]. I think relief and hope are a couple that I would share. It’s finally time for us to recover all the children that died and were left to remain unknown – it’s time for justice and accountability. We are getting older and many are dying, so we are relieved that the police services, Coroner and Forensic Officers are working together in the death and criminal investigation, and that we have Kimberley here to oversee this work.”
“I come to this new role with humility and enormous respect for the Survivors and the Sacred work ahead. The work of the TRC in relation to the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials was only a beginning. My commitment to the Survivors and their families is that we will not stop until we find the truth about where the children are,” said Kimberly Murray.
The Mandate of the Survivors’ Secretariat includes coordinating death investigation processes and protocols, conducting Statement Gathering, document collection and historical research, supporting commemoration initiatives, and liaising with First Nations, provincial, and federal governments.
The Survivors’ Secretariat is currently working to put in place an Indigenous Human Rights Monitor and a Cultural Monitor to oversee the work of the Joint Police Task Force. Survivors and community members have been clear, the Joint Police Task Force must be Survivor-led. These two monitoring roles, once in place, are essential to ensuring that Indigenous legal principles, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and cultural protocols are respected.
Chief Mark Hill stated, “From the very start it was recognized that the Secretariat needed to be apolitical and not under the Six Nations of the Grand River Elected Council. Communication with intergenerational Survivors and community is a critical component of this work and it’s important that politics not hinder the engagement that needs to take place.”
We understand that this is a difficult topic for many. If you are struggling and need support, there are resources available to 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