Director's Statement - Marieval Indian Residential School

JUNE 24, 2021 -- This morning, many of us woke up to the tragic news of another discovery of unknown buried remains. The Cowessess First Nation announced the discovery of hundreds of unmarked burial sites on the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School. According to a news conference with Chief Cadmus Delorme, it is unknown how many of these unmarked graves contain children or adults. The initial count may be as high as 751 unmarked graves according to the initial search. We have lowered all flags at all of our facilities, and many schools and staff members will be wearing orange to show their respect and grief about this horrific discovery.

On behalf of Regina Public Schools, Trustees of the Regina Board of Education, its employees, students and families, we offer our deepest condolences to the Cowessess First Nation, Chief Cadmus Delorme, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, to many of our employees and school families who may have relations and connections to Cowessess, and to all Indigenous families who have felt personal and family loss and continued trauma.

Even one unnecessary death of a child or an adult is unacceptable. The terrible legacy of residential and industrial schools continues to affect the everyday life of our employees, students and their families. The harm and intergenerational trauma caused by residential and industrial schools and the policies that supported them must be learned about and never repeated.

Regina Public Schools continues to recognize the need to bring to light the wrongs of the past and is working with our Elders, students, employees and school families to identify racism, oppression and injustices of the past and present.

In this time for truth, Regina Public Schools supports and encourages the ongoing work, understanding and fulfilment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada Calls to Action. In the words of TRC Commissioner Murray Sinclair, “Education is the key to reconciliation…education got us into this mess, and education will get us out of this mess.” We have much work to do to create equitable education. Our commitment to reconciliation has never been more important than it is now. This has begun and it continues with our identification and understanding of our shared history.

We respect every employee or school family and their need for privacy and time to heal. We do encourage anyone who needs to reach out and to seek help from some of the existing resources.

·         The Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll free line: 1 (800) 721-0066.

·         24-hour crisis line for residential school survivors is: 1 (866) 925-4419

·         Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or Text: 686868

In health and learning

Greg Enion