International organization says Indigenous families will lead unmarked graves report

THE HAGUE, Netherlands- The head of an international organization brought in by the federal government to provide communities with options for identifying possible human remains buried near former residential school sites says Indigenous families must lead the way.

Kathryne Bomberger, director general of the International Commission on Missing Persons, says families are central to addressing the issue of missing children and unmarked burials.

The federal government spent $2 million to sign a technical agreement with the organization based in The Hague to conduct a cross-country outreach campaign with Indigenous communities that wish to explore options for the identification and repatriation of remains.

The commission says it is to provide expert information on DNA analysis and other forensic approaches, but communities are not required to employ their services.

Kimberly Murray, who was tapped last year to serve as an independent special interlocutor on the matter, has expressed concerns that a non-Indigenous organization was tasked with the work.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller says in a news release that the support of the organization is necessary to rebuild the government’s trust and relationship with Indigenous people and communities.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.



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