The Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) is expressing its heartfelt sadness about the identification of over 600 unmarked graves at the site of Marieval Indian Residential School cemetery in Saskatchewan.

We respectfully acknowledge the thousands of residential school survivors, including countless members of Friendship Centre communities, who are reliving tragic experiences and the families who continue to be negatively impacted. We also recognize the difficult and important efforts being undertaken by the Cowessess First Nation as they work on finding their relatives who died victims of colonial institutions whose sole objective was to erase Indigenous people(s) from Turtle Island.

We anticipate there will be further unmarked burials found across Canada, shining a harsh and necessary light on the realities of colonization and the Canadian residential school system.  It is our hope that this work will be accompanied by an opportunity to grieve and heal.  It is also a pivotal time for non-Indigenous Canadians to take up their responsibilities in acknowledgement of Indigenous presence, history and rights, and stand as allies against injustice and oppression towards a reconciled Canada.

For those who need immediate assistance, please call: National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, 1-866-925-4419,.  You may also contact your local Friendship Centre.  For a list of Ontario Friendship Centres please go to www.ofifc.org.