Funding to find unmarked Indigenous graves in Alberta to be granted by province

The provincial government announced its intention to fund research efforts to help locate unmarked Indigenous graves in Alberta.

Rick Wilson, minister of Indigenous relations, revealed the intention in a statement released Monday evening.

The statement did not include the details of funding, including an amount or how it would be administered. Details are expected to be released “in the coming days.”

Of the 134 officially designated residential schools in Canada, at least 25 operated in Alberta between 1893 and 1996.

According to Wilson, the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a mass grave near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School spurred the government into action.

Actions 74 and 94 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls on the federal government, church and Indigenous community leaders to work toward finding where children are buried, as well as responding to the wishes of properly commemorating the lives lost in the residential school system.

Wilson said the provincial government of Alberta is now joining that effort.

“Today, I am announcing the Alberta government’s intention to fund research into the undocumented deaths and burials of hundreds of Indigenous children who did not make their way home,” he said.

“Finding their graves is a matter of reconciliation and another step toward closure for families,” Wilson added. “Many of the schools have been destroyed and while their general location is known, the exact coordinates are missing. It is possible that children were buried in locations such as nearby churches.”

Contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll-free 1 (800) 721-0066 or 24-hour Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419 if you require further emotional support or assistance.