“As a former residential school student myself, the government announcement of $320 million to search residential schools for graves and to support survivors is a necessary step towards reconciliation. This funding comes at a critical time, as the number of children found in unmarked graves continues to climb.
Children are not the only ones that were harmed by residential schools. We must support Inuit survivors and their families, many of whom continue to feel the impacts of surviving residential schools or being a family member to a child who attended residential schools. We are pleased to see funding to support communities managing residential school buildings, and funding for programs to provide mental health, cultural, and emotional services. We also support the creation of a national advisory committee to advise Indigenous communities and governments on finding and identifying unmarked graves.
We are eager to work alongside the special interlocutor once they are appointed to propose changes to federal laws, policies, and practices related to unmarked graves from residential schools.
Inuit women have a unique experience of residential schools as survivors and as mothers of the children that were taken. Pauktuutit firmly believes that all residential school sites must be searched, including those in Inuit Nunangat. We must ensure that these funding announcements include Inuit-specific measures.
As more children are found, and graves are discovered, I continue to look towards my grandson and all the children in my community as gifts of hope. They deserve their childhoods to be filled with family, culture, and community, and our communities need their optimism and resiliency. They are the future.”
Rebecca Kudloo, President
Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada