Six Nations: Survivors Secretariat now heading coroner-led investigation

By Lisa Iesse


SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND – The Survivors Secretariat announced the

move from criminal to coroner’s investigation today ( Tuesday Feb. 28).

“Today I want to announce that the Survivor Secretariat is now  changing from a police-led criminal investigation to a coroner-led  investigation. This will provide the secretariat with more access to the  data uncovered and will allow for more resource sharing amongst the  investigators and the archival researcher features,” Laura Arndt,  Secretariat lead announced.

The meeting was held at the Gathering Place in Six Nations and was posted live on facebook.

In attendance were members of the Survivor Secretariat, the Special  Interlocutors Office, the Multi-Jurisdictional Task force, the  Coroner’s Office, Six Nations Police, Brantford Police, the OPP, and  the Know History research group. Kimberly Murray, the Independent Special Interlocutor for the  Office of the Special Interlocutor, Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites could not attend.

Wendy Johnson, Executive Director, in the  Special Interlocutor office addressed the meeting saying searches had to continue to “follow the truth.”

“The bodies and spirits of  missing indigenous children must be treated with honour and respect  and dignity. Survivors must be honoured and acknowledged for raising  public awareness about the truths of the unmarked burials of children  who died at Indian residential schools. Indigenous families and  communities have the right to know what happened to their children who  died while in the care state and churches. The search for burials and  the recovery of missing indigenous children must be governed by  Indigenous laws…Searches and investigations must follow the truth.

She said it  means not just physically searching for graves but starting a paper search.

“This requires investigating the movements of each child using records  and archives, survivor testimonies from when the child was first taken  to an Indian residential school through to any other institution or  location they were sent.”

Murray has been given two years (until June 2024) to complete her  mandate as special interlocuter. She is working closely with  residential school survivors to develop the guiding principles of the  ongoing work.

The Secretariat also announced that they are requesting funding from  the federal and provincial government. So far they have received $1.2  million of the requested provincial funding, and $3.4 million  in federal funding, which is about half of what is required to do the work over  the next four years.

Six Nations Elected Councillor (SNEC) Greg Frazier attended on behalf  of Elected Chief Mark Hill

“The $1.4 million that we provided is still minimal in terms of what’s  needed… I can speak for Chief Hill and the rest of the councillors,  we’re gonna press the provincial federal government to provide the  resources that are needed to continue with this work.”



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