Fort Chipewyan, Alberta (March 03, 2022) – The process of identifying burial and grave sites at the Holy Angels Residential School will soon begin.
Today, the leadership of the Fort Chipewyan Métis Association (FCMA), Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), and Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) have announced they will partner together to start the tragic work.
FCMA President Kendrick Cardinal said that the work, planned to begin March 31, 2022, is “a necessary step in addressing the intergenerational trauma that the residential school experience has created for so many Indigenous people.”
Set to begin March 31, 2022, ACFN Chief Allan Adam commented that “the findings across Canada of unmarked, previously unidentified, and horrifying mass burials of children who attended residential school shocked many Canadians, but they did not shock Indigenous people.”
MCFN Chief Peter Powder adds that the first step towards reconciliation is the truth.
“The work in Fort Chipewyan, which will include collecting testimonials from Elders, aerial photography, ground-penetrating radar, and other methods, is critical to uncovering the truth about Holy Angels Residential School.”
Chief Adam states that they want to ensure that any child buried in this manner at the Holy Angels Residential School site is given the dignity, respect, and love that every child deserves.
President Cardinal of FCMA commented that he knows this will not be an easy path for the community.
“We begin this search with heavy and sad hearts that this is necessary at all. We ask all community members to hold space in particular for former Holy Angels students.”
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has confirmed 89 deaths of children who attended the school between 1880 and 1953.
The Holy Angels Residential School was located in Fort Chipewyan and operated from 1874 to 1974, with the old school site now located on the Mikisew Cree First Nation reserve.