“We Must Bring Justice and Healing to the Families Whose Children Never Made it Home from Residential Schools,” Says AFN NWT Regional Chief Yakeleya

Published: Sep 19, 2019News

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) NWT Regional Chief Norman Yakeleya attended a presentation by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) yesterday on their work regarding Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Call to Action 72, which calls on the federal government to allocate sufficient resources to the NCTR to allow it to “develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register” established by the TRC that compiles information about children who died while under the responsibility of Indian Residential School authorities. The NCTR has advised that it will be making this register available to the public in the near future.

“We must bring justice and healing to the families whose children never made it home from the residential schools,” said AFN NWT Regional Chief Yakeleya, who oversees this work for the AFN. “We have taken steps to work towards healing and justice for the living survivors with the Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and the Indian Day School Class Action Settlement.  Now we must take care of those who have passed or gone missing.  We know this is sensitive and significant work. We must ensure the families affected by this tragedy receive justice and healing.  We must address this dark chapter in our shared history.  Truth and justice are essential to reconciliation and I commend the NCTR’s efforts to develop and maintain this registry.  Today, my thoughts are with the memory and spirits of those who did not make it home.”

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Working Group investigated the history of Indigenous children who died at Residential Schools. To date, the most accurate number available of deceased children is 4,200 as identified by the NCTR through named and unnamed death records. Calls to Action 72-76 emphasize the need to commemorate, document and protect burial sites and for the NCTR to develop and maintain a National Student Death Register established by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.  Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

For more information, please contact:

Monica Poirier
Bilingual Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 382
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]

Michael Hutchinson
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-241-6789 ext. 201
613-859-6831 (cell)
[email protected]