A message re: the former Marieval Indian Residential School
As Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools leadership, we join our staff and families in deep shock and sorrow that accompanies the news of the 751 unmarked graves that the Cowessess First Nation (in southeastern Saskatchewan) identified at the former Marieval Indian Residential School. Words cannot express our sorrow for the people of Cowessess First Nation, and all Indigenous communities in our province and country. We stand in support of the community as they grieve, and we offer our prayers and support.
For our community, we have much work ahead of us. We also have the need for much healing among us.
An excerpt from our message to staff on National Indigenous Peoples Day states, “… we are reminded of the intergenerational effects of the residential school system and the diminishing effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples, cultures and languages. These are not only events of the past, but are sustained by systems and structures that continue to affect Indigenous peoples and communities today. We are not where we need to be but we accept the challenge of moving forward in a good way.”
As was referenced in a message following the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, we have a lot of work to do. We are committed to revise and renew our process and plans for the division’s responses to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Planning is still under way; however, we are revising our process and are forming a new division standing committee to guide and monitor our work towards reconciliation and healing. While this group will help inform and formulate our plans, we have noted four areas of work including: efforts to decolonize education; work to address racism and strengthen anti-racist/anti-oppressive education in the division; particular efforts to support reconciliation and healing; and the provision of responsive and appropriate survivor supports as important areas to focus our efforts.
On this last day of school for elementary students, please be attentive to the needs of students and each other. These are difficult and painful times. If you need assistance, please don’t hesitate to seek supports available within the division, or access help at:
- The First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310.
- Indian Residential School Survivors and Family can contact:
- Toll-Free Line: 1-800-721-0066.
- 24-Hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.
- Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266.
You can find a prayer for healing and reconciliation at https://www.gscs.ca/_ci/p/4346
We have a great deal of difficult work ahead. We ask our Creator God to be with us in our pursuit of justice and healing.
Director of Education
Board of Education Chair