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​Message from Kathryn Oviatt, Chief of the Commission and Tribunals, Alberta Human Rights Commission

(March 3, 2022)

Unmarked graves at Grouard Residential School in Alberta

We at the Alberta Human Rights Commission are devastated to learn about the 169 potential graves identified at the former Grouard Residential School in northern Alberta.

We extend our deepest sympathies to the First Peoples of Alberta, especially to the People of Treaty 8, including the Kapawe'no First Nation, and the Métis Nation of Alberta Region 5. Our hearts are with all of the family members and loved ones affected by this recent recovery.

To date, over 1,700 unmarked graves have been located at residential school sites across Canada. One thousand seven hundred children stolen from their families and forcibly institutionalized, never to return. These findings echo the accounts and lived experiences of residential school survivors and direct us to keep our attention on the long road of truth and reconciliation that lies before us.

It is a gut-wrenching reminder that Alberta has much progress to make in reconciling the dark legacies of our past, and in promoting and protecting human rights in the present. As a Commission, we continue to work with our Indigenous Advisory Circle members to determine how to better uphold the dignity and human rights of Indigenous Peoples, ensure justice and equality, and create a society that is free from discrimination.

For emotional and crisis referral services, survivors and their families can call the 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line​ at 1-800-721-0066.

Our vision is a vibrant and inclusive Alberta where the rich diversity of people is celebrated and respected, and where everyone has the opportunity to fully participate in society, free from discrimination.