Report From Parliament Hill:
Eric Melillo, MP, Kenora Riding
Last week in the House of Commons, I gave a speech on the painful legacy of the residential schools system, following the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children (at) a former residential school
This discovery re-opened deep wounds for Indigenous people across the country – but sadly, it was not a shock. We know this is not the only site in Canada interring the remains of Indigenous children who died in the residential
Thousands of children died while attending residential
schools in Canada – including over seventy in the Kenora region. Many survivors are haunted by the memory of friends and siblings who disappeared one day and never came back.
These were children who died of diseases like tuberculosis, which was allowed to run rampant in the schools, or in preventable accidents due to negligence and insufficient safety standards. Others fled abuse and died of drowning or exposure as they tried desperately to get back to their parents.
The majority of families were not allowed to reclaim their children’s bodies to say a proper goodbye. Parents were rarely informed of the cause of death; in many cases, school officials didn’t even record the names of the students who died.
Last week, the Leader of the Opposition sent a letter to the Prime Minister with recommendations on how to honour these lost children.
Canada must develop a plan to implement Calls to Action 71-76 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to bring closure to families and ensure the victims are finally granted the respect they deserve.
We must fund the investigation of all sites where unmarked graves may exist, and provide resources to communities to reinter, commemorate, or honour any individuals found.
And we must ensure all Canadians are educated about the devastating impacts of residential schools, so we can work together to protect human rights and advance Reconciliation.
Working for You
As always, if there is anything my office can assist you with, or if you would like to arrange a meeting, please call me at 807-223-2182 (Dryden) or 807-468-2170 (Kenora), or contact me by email at [email protected].
Member of Parliament