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ATHABASCA TRIBAL COUNCIL DEMANDS PRIORITY ACTION IS GIVEN TO NATION-WIDE INVESTIGATIONS TO IDENTIFY THE GRAVES AND THE CRIMINAL ACTS AGAINST THE CHILDREN WHO ATTENDED INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(June 24, 2021, Fort McMurray, AB) – Athabasca Tribal Council (ATC) continues to call on all levels of government—federal, provincial, and municipal—to prioritize actions to investigate the criminal acts that took place at each of the Indian Residential School locations across Canada.

“ATC acknowledges the work done to-date by the First Nations that have been able to identify the gravesites at Residential School areas so far,” said Karla Buffalo, CEO of Athabasca Tribal Council. “We send prayers and support to all those impacted by the residential school system, with special attention today to the Cowessess First Nation as their community absorbs the impact that this information will have on community members and survivors. ATC will continue to demand that the 94 recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be actioned without further delay.”

Since the initial discovery and announcement on May 26, 2021, there have been 1143 unmarked graves of Indigenous children from across Canada including Kamloops-British Columbia, Brandon-Manitoba, Regina-Saskatchewan, Lestock-Saskatchewan, and Cowessess-Saskatchewan. Today’s tragic announcement of 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan will sadly not be the last. This discovery proves that a nation-wide investigation of all residential school sites is necessary to allow our communities to identify and grieve for loved ones and put their remains to rest.

“As we learn of more graves being found across Canada, it is more apparent than ever that our Elders and survivors need to be heard and action taken to find those who lost their lives at a residential school,” said Chief Adam, President of the Athabasca Tribal Council. “Canada can no longer turn a blind eye to atrocities and genocide that have taken place in this country. The world is watching Canada’s next steps. I call on this Canadian government to be better than any of their predecessors and take the actions needed for true and meaningful reconciliation.”

ATC Community Members who are in need of emotional support are encouraged to call the Athabasca Tribal Council’s IRS Support Worker, Lyn Chartrand at 780-799-2461, Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to all Indigenous people.

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ABOUT ATHABASCA TRIBAL COUNCIL

Athabasca Tribal Council is an organization that serves our First Nations by providing relevant and innovative programs and services that enrich the well-being, health and prosperity of its people. ATC is committed to ensuring the protection of inherent rights, Treaty Rights, and their Traditional Territories while respecting the autonomy of each Nation. For information, visit atcfn.ca.

For more information:

Chief Allan Adam
President, Athabasca Tribal Council
Chief, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
780-713-1220