Search For Unmarked Graves Begins On Former Norway House Residential School Sites
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Search For Unmarked Graves Begins On Former Norway House Residential School Sites

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Ground Penetrating Radar will be used in the three-phase process

Norway House Cree Nation (N.H.C.N.) will begin its search for unmarked graves on two former residential school grounds with a traditional ceremony and blessing of the land. A sacred fire was lit on Sunday, September 18 and will remain lit until the ground search begins on the 4th day.

Stantec, the professional engineering firm hired to conduct the search, will be present along with the Chief and Council. They will present the scope of work with timelines and answer any questions the membership raises.

 “It is necessary to proceed with this initiative for our community members’ peace of mind and for the residential school survivors/day school attendees and their families to move on in their healing journey.” Said Chief Larson Anderson with his Council

N.H.C.N. Health Division will ensure councillors are available on-site and on call to those who may require the service. Norway House had two residential schools. One was Rossville School which began its operation by the Methodist Missionary Society of Canada in 1899.

The school burned down in 1913 and was replaced by a new building. That building also burned down in 1946 and was replaced in 1954. In 1967, the school was transferred to the provincial government and converted to a day school. 

The Roman Catholic Mission operated the second school, initially known as Jack River Annex, funded as part of the Cross Lake School. In 1960, the facility was directly funded and became known as the Notre Dame Hostel until June 30, 1967, when N.H.C.N. signed an agreement with the Frontier School Division to operate the school.

Councillor David Swanson, Council Portfolio Holder of Education, said the community has been waiting in anticipation for this to occur here ever since the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves in Kamloops in May 2021.

As a part of the truth and reconciliation process, it called on the Pope and the Catholic Church to make a formal apology to the Indigenous people. That apology came on July 29 of this year. 

“Today too, there are any number of forms of ideological colonization that clash with the reality of life, stifle the natural attachment of peoples to their values, and attempt to uproot their traditions, history and religious ties,” Francis said.

Canadians can love Canada, but we also despise the colonial genocide of the First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities. All Canadians must take time to learn and understand the history of the Indigenous peoples, including but not limited to the detrimental effects of the foster care system, the prison system, the lack of clean drinking water on reserves, the thousands and counting missing and murdered Indigenous Women. 

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