June 4th, 2021
LETTER: The Prime Minister Must Assist First Nations With Search for Mass Graves
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
I am writing to you today to urge you to act on the call made by Pimicikamak Cree Nation on the need to fund a forensic search of the grounds of the Residential School that was brutally imposed on them for decades, as well as the call to invite international experts that can help conduct these critical searches. While your Government has recently indicated you will support searches, Pimicikamak has yet to hear from you.
People in Pimicikamak and First Nations people have been reliving immense trauma since the discovery of 215 children in a mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School. Many believe that there are many more children to be found. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission made this clear too. This is genocide. As Councillor Robinson has said, “Reconciliation no longer exists in my vocabulary. This was murder. This was genocide. If you hope to ever regain the trust of First Nations, there must be action.”
Canada must also act on the call of Pimicikamak to invite the International Commission on Missing Persons.
The International Commission on Missing Persons, an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague has expertise in searching for mass graves and uncovering genocide in war zones around the world. First Nations must have the support to work with top level experts in conducting these searches that must also be treated as possible crime scenes.
There must be truth for there to be reconciliation. This truth involves searches of other Residential School grounds to find the children who never came home. There must be proper identification and repatriation. The children must be returned home.
Prime Minister Trudeau, it is not too late to reverse course and stand on the side of justice and reconciliation. A first step would be to respond to this call from Pimicikamak Cree Nation and move quickly to support First Nations across the country.
If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
MP Niki Ashton