On March 1 in High Prairie, Chief Sydney Halcrow of the Kapawe’no First Nation announced the discovery of 169 potential graves at the former Grouard Mission site, about 370 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. The investigation had focused on a small area of land around the school, which was also known as St. Bernard’s Indian Residential School. Fifty-four potential graves were located in that area and another 115 were identified in the community cemetery.
Tolko, like others across Canada and around the world, were dismayed last year to learn of the 215 children found buried near the former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, and we knew that there were more devastating announcements to come. Tolko works with over 80 Indigenous communities, and we realize that the pain and the losses being felt by the Kapawe’no First Nation also run deep throughout Treaty 8 territory and the larger Indigenous community.
We will continue our reconciliation efforts and we encourage our employees and colleagues to take a moment to reflect on the loss and tragedy brought on by Indian Residential Schools. We remain supportive of the Orange Shirt Society, and their work on raising awareness about Indian Residential Schools, and we hope everyone will wear orange shirts to reflect that “Every Child Matters.”
Indigenous peoples are our co-workers, friends, families, and neighbours, and we stand in solidarity with them.