Shadow Minister's Statement to St. Bernard’s IRS Discovery

Holly StandingReady

March 04, 2022


With this week’s tragic discovery by the Kapawe’no First Nation of unmarked graves at the St. Bernard’s Mission School, also known as Grouard Indian Residential School, the Alberta Party grieves for those children lost and families torn apart. Every discovery like this one reopens the wounds for Indigenous communities across Canada, and reminds us all about this shameful history in our country. 

We are saddened and heartbroken by the loss of life, loss of hope, and loss of potential that these thousands of graves across Canada represent. Alberta has some responsibility in this painful history and this latest tragic discovery should move us to take meaningful action on reconciliation 

We feel anguish for survivors and families knowing that holding the perpetrators to account has been non-existent. Justice  for the dead children and their families must be actively pursued. The passage of time should not allow these crimes to go unresolved. 

We also know healing, awareness, and conversations for the people come from the people. Indigenous communities know the solutions. It’s our responsibility to listen and provide meaningful support to the communities. 

There is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that this is fully investigated, each potential grave area is searched and secured, and that there is justice brought to bear for these children, families, and communities. We are also aware that in the coming months, or years the potential of finding more grave sites is high. Alberta had the highest amount of residential schools. 

On behalf of the Alberta Party, as our Shadow Minister of Indigenous Relations, I stand with our leader, Barry Morishita and my Shadow Cabinet colleagues, sharing the grief and loss with Indigeous peoples with a commitment to ensuring your voices are heard, and that we pursue justice.”

For any Residential school survivor, or their family members, that have been re-traumatized or struggling with the recent news, there are helplines for you to talk with people and assist with your feelings of shock, disbelief, anger and hurt. Please call for emotional support.

National Indian Residential School Crisis Line – call 1-866-925-4419 (24hours a day/7 days a week)

Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) – 1-800-721-0066

Mental Health Helpline – 1-877-303-2642 (24hours/day & 7days a week)

- Holly Standingready, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Relations