By Jesse Boily
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Alberta government is looking to take further steps towards reconciliation after the discovery of the remains of 215 children were found at a former Kamloops residential school.
Survivors of residential schools can now reclaim their traditional indigenous names at no cost, indefinitely.
Descendants of survivors are also eligible such as children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and spouses/partners of residential schools.
Previously the province had made this service only available till January 2024, as a response to the Call to Action 17 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and article 13.1 from the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
“This is another important step towards reconciliation and healing,” said Rick Wilson, Minister of Indigenous Relations.
“This will go a long way in retaining and protecting Indigenous culture for generations to come,” said Wilson.
“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada asked that governments waive fees for five years for Residential School survivors and their families who want to reclaim their Indigenous names,” said Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta.
He said, “Alberta can do even better by ensuring that whenever an Indigenous person is ready to reclaim their name, they can do so without the barriers of time or money.”
Name changes can be made by applying for a legal change of name directly through Alberta Vital Statistics.
Submissions cannot be made through a registry agent, but requests can be made directly through the Vital Statistics office at vsregistries?gov.ab.ca.
Certificates like birth certificates can be surrendered and replaced with an individuals Indigenous name free of charge as well.
For more information contact Vital Statistics 780-427-7013.
Jesse Boily is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Town and Country News . The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.