‘We cannot have reconciliation without the truth’

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The following statement was released by the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta June 22:

We, the sovereign chiefs of Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta, mourn the recent discovery of the mass grave of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School built on the Tk ‘emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

Not long after, we felt the pain and trauma again after the discovery of more than 100 children buried at the former Brandon Residential School near Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation. The discoveries continue and the numbers grow, reconfirming the truth of the stories told by residential school survivors.

Presently, the federal government continues to fight residential school survivors in court. The federal government has deflected, shifted blame, and refused to acknowledge its responsibility in creating, funding, and facilitating this program of genocide. In their own words, the federal government continues to refer to what they did to our people as “cultural genocide.” A safe statement that is not punishable in the colonial court system.

The highest concentration of residential schools in Canada were in Treaty 8 territory. Of the 25 residential schools in Alberta, 11 were in Treaty 8.

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