[CW: This statement contains distressing details concerning residential schools.]

Yesterday, Star Blanket Cree Nation announced it has located over 2,000 underground anomalies at the site of the former Lebret Indian Industrial School over the past year. While more work is needed to figure out what many of these searches have uncovered, among the findings were the partial remains of a young child.

It is an understatement to say that this news is difficult to hear. SGEU extends our thoughts and support to the people of Star Blanket Cree Nation and everyone who has been affected by the residential school system. If you survived the residential school system, or are a family member of a survivor, a 24-hour support line is available at 1-800-721-0066. 

This news is another reminder that much of our country’s colonial past needs to be grappled with. As the facts of what happened in the residential school system continue to come to light, SGEU is committed to hearing the truth and walking with Indigenous Peoples on the path of reconciliation.

We are committed to truth and reconciliation because the life of the little one who was uncovered mattered. While we can’t change the past, we can—and must—do everything we can to ensure that these children, survivors and their communities receive the justice they deserve.

In solidarity,

Hali Topinka
SGEU Indigenous Vice-President