Lac Seul First Nation receiving federal support for search, commemoration activities around former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School site
Tim Brody - Editor
WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
Federal funding of $1 million in 2021-2022 has been announced for Lac Seul First Nation, which, “will engage with 33 affiliated northern Ontario communities to establish cultural and spiritual protocols in working with Survivors, intergenerational Survivors, knowledge keepers and leaders to address the location, documentation, mapping, maintenance and commemoration/memorialization of burial sites associated with the former Pelican Lake Indian Residential School.”
Chief Clifford Bull of the Lac Seul First Nation and Marc Miller, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, made the announcement on Dec. 16.
A community-led process will ensure Lac Seul First Nation can undertake this work in their own way and at their own pace, a Government of Canada news release informed.
“Lac Seul and its partners are very pleased with the positive outcome of the proposal. The Bringing Our Children Home Initiative received funding from Canada, and this funding will support positive relationships throughout our area to bring closure with respect to the missing children who never returned home,” Chief Bull stated.
“We will be there to support communities like Lac Seul First Nation to research what happened at former residential schools, including Pelican Lake Residential School. Our thoughts are with those Indigenous children who never returned home, the Survivors, families and communities as they embark on this difficult journey, mourn and heal,” Miller commented.
“The locating of unmarked graves at former residential school sites across Canada is a tragic reminder of the abuse that many Indigenous People have experienced. The Government of Canada is working with Survivors, Indigenous leaders and affected families and communities as part of efforts to address historical wrongs and the lasting physical, emotional, mental and spiritual harms related to the legacy of residential schools,” the news release stated, adding, “Addressing the abuse suffered by Survivors, their families and communities is at the heart of reconciliation and is essential to renewing and rebuilding relationships with Indigenous Peoples, governments, and all Canadians. The Government of Canada remains steadfast in its commitment to address the legacy of residential schools, and this will continue to be a priority as we walk down the shared path of reconciliation.”
Resources to support those in distress due to the Indian Residential School system include the Indian Residential School (IRS) National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419, Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s NAN HOPE program at 1-844-626-4673, or the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.