United Church of Canada to fund identification of unmarked Indigenous graves

The United Church of Canada is making funds available to support the work of Indigenous communities in the identification of unmarked graves, knowledge gathering, and ceremony to honour the children who died in its care at 15 residential schools. 

It is also providing those communities with full electronic copies of all documents in its possession related to these institutions. These records were submitted to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and are currently archived at both the United Church of Canada Archives and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. 

“The United Church of Canada was an active participant in a system that ripped Indigenous families apart by forcibly removing the children from their homes,” said the church’s moderator, the Right Rev. Dr. Richard Bott. “We played a critical role in this and we as a church need to be more action-focused in our commitment to reconciliation.”

Bringing the Children Home
The church’s initiative, called Bringing the Children Home, is an act of reparation and responds to Calls to Action 73–76 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

It also includes archival and oral history work to create a document index and narrative of all the information the church has related to students deaths and burial sites.

The General Secretary, Rev. Michael Blair, said, “Our history as settlers is a ‘we can fix this’ attitude. Clearly, we have been very wrong. We need to listen before we act, and support communities as they define their needs.”

The funding was approved by the United Church’s General Council Executive in the summer of 2021. The United Church Foundation has also provided funding.

For more information on Bringing the Children Home, visit the United Church website.

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