24 June 2021 - Canada

Canada cannot stop looking until all children are found


Save the Children statement following the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at a former residential school in Saskatchewan 


Today 751 unmarked graves have been found on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School, in Saskatchewan Canada, many of which appear to be those of children.


Danny Glenwright, President and CEO of Save the Children in Canada: 


“We are deeply saddened and angered by the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at a former residential school for indigenous children – this is a tragedy that never should have happened. The abuse, neglect, trauma and death suffered by thousands of Indigenous children in Canada is nothing short of genocide – one that remains deeply engraved in the lives of Indigenous people today.


“Canada cannot stop looking until all the graves of missing children are uncovered, and all families know what happened to their loved ones. Indigenous communities deserve justice, and we stand with them in support and to ensure the government and the Catholic Church are held to account for decades of failing residential school survivors and their families.”


“With more than 100 years of history in Canada, Save the Children has committed to learn more about, and take responsibility for, any action – or inaction – that contributed to the discrimination and violence experienced by Indigenous children and people. For true healing to occur, we must not be silent; we must speak out and take action against rights violations.


“We call on the government of Canada to prioritize implementation of all calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including investigating all former residential school grounds across the country to find the remains of missing children. In addition, the child welfare system needs to be reformed urgently, so inequalities that still very much haunt and hurt Indigenous children today are being addressed. Also, the Indigenous and colonial history must be included into school curricula fairly and transparently.” 


Save the Children has supported several organizations who are working with and for Indigenous communities – the organisations provide (crisis) support for former students of residential schools through counselling, education prevention and interventions.


Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International, said:

“The discovery of almost 1,000 unmarked graves at two residential schools for indigenous children this month is heart-breaking, with this inhuman treatment of children ripping apart future generations.  The latest discoveries underscore the cruelty of the residential school system in Canada, but also in other countries.


“At Save the Children we want all children protected from abuse, neglect and exploitation and we are committed to tackling head-on any institutional racism or discrimination that targets indigenous children. The inter-generational damage from this bleak period cannot be underestimated and at Save the Children we are committed to increasing awareness and action of indigenous child rights.” 

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