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Burlington Council Unanimously Supports City of Brantford in Calling for Release of all Federal, Provincial Documents Related to Former Mohawk Institute Residential School

Council Approved - Support Brantford Call for Residential School Docs Release - TW

At our Burlington City Council meeting on Jan. 24, we unanimously approved supporting a resolution from the City of Brantford calling for the release of all federal and provincial documents related to the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.

MY TAKE:

This motion originates from my Ontario’s Big City Mayors (OBCM) colleague, Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis and his ask for records to be released in order to locate, identify, document, maintain, commemorate and protect sites where residential school children were buried at all former residential schools. The survivors of these former residential school have asked for this.

We had a very powerful keynote speaker at the recent 2023 Rural Ontario Municipalities Association (ROMA) Conference — Jesse Wente, a First Nations Canadian arts journalist, author and chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. He spoke about Truth and Reconciliation and how Truth demands that we know what happened, and Reconciliation doesn’t happen without recognizing the truth. One way to do that is through the release of these documents. This is one small step for us to add our voice to this call and help working towards Truth & Reconciliation.

BACKGROUND:

In May 2021, Canadians we shaken by the news that a land survey of the grounds at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the site. Following this announcement, the Survivors of the Mohawk Institute, along with their families and community members called on the Federal and Provincial governments to support a search for the remains of the missing children who may have been buried on the Mohawk Institute’s grounds and the surrounding area. The Survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School are also demanding the release of all Federal and Provincial documents related to the former Residential School.

The release of this information to the Survivors’ Secretariat will aid in the search for truth, justice and healing. As a country and community, we must work together to find ways to acknowledge these atrocities and commemorate and honour the lives that have been
lost.

For this reason, Burlington Council supports Brantford Council’s resolution calling for the release, by the Governments of Canada and Ontario, and the Anglican Church of all documents in their possession related to the former Mohawk Residential School located on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, within the geographical boundaries of the City of Brantford.

For a copy of my motion memo/our resolution and the City of Brantford’s resolution, please see below:

MAYOR MEED WARD MOTION MEMORANDUM:

Whereas the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action #71 through to #76 on Missing Children and Burial Information calls on all levels of government to release records relating to former residential schools in order to locate, identify, document, maintain, commemorate and protect sites where residential school children were buried at all former residential schools; and

Whereas Survivors of the Mohawk Institute Residential School are demanding the release of all Federal and Provincial documents related to the former Mohawk Institute Residential School; and

And whereas the City of Burlington is committed to actively advancing truth and reconciliation through policies, strategies and initiatives;

Therefore, be it resolved that Council for the City of Burlington support the attached resolution from the City of Brantford, dated May 17, 2022, regarding the Release of all Federal and Provincial Documents Related to the Former Mohawk Institute Residential School, and attached to this motion; and

Further that a copy of this resolution be sent to: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; Premier Doug Ford; Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Marc Miller; Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu; Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Karina Gould; Minister of Indigenous Affairs, Greg Rickford; Minister of Red Tape Reduction, Parm Gill; Pam Damoff, MP Oakville North-Burlington; Adam van Koeverden, MP Milton; Natalie Pierre, MPP Burlington; Effie Triantafilopoulos, MPP

Oakville North-Burlington; Region of Halton; County of Brant, Town of Halton Hills; Town of Milton; Town of Oakville; City of Brantford; Chief Mark Hill; Chief Stacey Laforme; the Survivors’ Secretariat; and Grandmother’s Voice; Federation of Canadian Municipalities; Association of Municipalities of Ontario; and the Ontario Big City Mayor’s Caucus.

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A Better Burlington began in 2006 after my neighbours said they felt left out of city decisions, learning about them only after they’d been made. As journalist for 22 years, I thought “I can do something about that” and a website and newsletter were born. They’ve taken various forms and names over the years, but the intent remains: To let you know what’s happening at City Hall before decisions are made, so you can influence outcomes for A Better Burlington. The best decisions are made when elected representatives tap the wisdom of our community members, and welcome many different perspectives.This site allows residents to comment and debate with each other; our Commenting Guidelines established in 2016 aim to keep debate respectful. Got an idea or comment you want to share privately? Please, get in touch:

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