Anthropology Department Statement on Unmarked Graves at Residential Schools
As a Department of Anthropologists committed to using the skills and science of our practice in the service of community-led and culturally sensitive archaeology, we echo the recent calls on all levels of government to ensure that all identifications and inventories of former Residential School burial grounds across Canada are completed promptly. We note the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called for these investigations to be undertaken back in 2015. The TRC specifically urged that any such investigation be adequately funded by the government and led by the affected community/communities and families, who should set both the protocols and aims of these investigations (TRCC Call to Action recommendations 71-76; http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf). Archaeology and the many skilled archaeologists in Canada dedicated to working in partnership with Indigenous communities are uniquely positioned to assist in finding these places of burial and interment. In this way, we can contribute to the healing process envisioned by the TRC by helping to honour the children who died as a result of this horrific part of Canada's heritage.