OTTAWA — A panel of Indigenous experts says it will not participate in engagement sessions hosted by an international organization Ottawa hired to provide advice on identifying possible human remains in unmarked graves.
The National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials says today that after giving the matter careful thought, it has decided against involvement in the process.
The federal government and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation announced the committee last July.
Months earlier, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Nation in British Columbia released ground-penetrating radar findings of what are believed to be more than 200 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school.
Other First Nations across Western Canada have since announced similar discoveries, and last fall the federal government signed a contract with the Netherlands-based International Commission on Missing Persons to engage with communities on identifying possible remains.
The national advisory committee says it raised concerns about the agreement, and it remains worried Ottawa has brought in a non-Indigenous group with no history of working with residential school survivors to lead such sensitive work.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023.
The Canadian Press