Warning: Some of the following content may stir up or trigger unwanted or unpleasant feelings.
We would like to begin by acknowledging the Indigenous Peoples of all the lands that we are on today. We would like to take a moment to acknowledge the importance of the lands, which we each call home. We do this to reaffirm our commitment and responsibility to improving relationships between nations and our own understanding of local Indigenous peoples and their cultures. From coast to coast to coast, we acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Inuit, Métis, and First Nations people that call this land home.
We are saddened by the ever-increasing numbers of unmarked graves identified near residential schools across these lands we call Canada. We acknowledge the grief and trauma communities continue to endure due to the legacy of the residential school system and the impact these recent investigations are having on First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples, and stand in solidarity with them.
We recognize that forensic science and the medicolegal system is part of a larger colonialist system which created residential schools. We fully support community-led actions to find closure in the manner that they determine. It is understandable that there may be a desire for justice within the Canadian medico-legal system. In the event of such investigations, as professionals from various forensic specialties, we are ready to provide assistance if requested.
Burial, disinterment and handling of human remains as well as death investigations are predominantly covered by provincial legislation. Interested parties are encouraged to consult provincial acts and regulations. We encourage anyone interested in further reading to consider the following resources:
Canadian Archaeological Association (CAA): https://canadianarchaeology.com/caa/resources-indigenous-communities-considering-investigating-unmarked-graves
Canadian Association for Physical Anthropology (CAPA): www.capa-acap.net/residential-schools
If you are experiencing trauma or feeling triggered, help is available 24/7 for survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419. Mental health support for Indigenous peoples across the land we now call Canada, is available through the Hope for Wellness chat line at 1-800-721-00696 or using the chat box at: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/. The Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society provides information about these and other supports that are available: https://www.irsss.ca/