National Committee for Residential Schools holds NS community event

Click to play video: 'Residential school survivors, committee host community event in Truro, N.S.'
Residential school survivors, committee host community event in Truro, N.S.
WATCH: The national advisory committee on residential schools, missing children and unmarked burials held a community event in Nova Scotia on Saturday. As the committee continues their Canada-wide search for information on missing indigenous children, an event was organized with residential school survivors in Nova Scotia to hear their stories and carve a mutual pathway to healing. Vanessa Wright reports. – Oct 14, 2023

Healing, support and truth-telling were the objectives for a community knowledge sharing event in Truro on Saturday.

The National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools and Missing Children and Unmarked Burials (NAC) was created to provide Indigenous communities with expert information related to the search for children who never returned home from residential schools.

As they continue their ground search efforts, they’ve made it their mission to hold Community Knowledge Sharing events across Canada.

Kisha Supernant, the founding chair of the Canadian Archaeological Association Unmarked Graves Working group and a member of NAC, says the community event is a key step in their work.

“It is essential to begin any kind of work with community events,” says Supernant.

Kisha Supernant, a member of the National Advisory Committee, says it’s important to hold community events when doing work regarding missing Indigenous children and survivors. Vanessa Wright/Global News

“It helps us to start anything in a good way and bring survivors and their families together, to connect with each other and build that sense of collectiveness.”

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Supernant says having survivors share their stories, which was one of the objectives of the event, also helps the committee better understand their research.

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“We already know that thousands of children died at residential schools, there’s extensive archival records,” says Supernant. “But the evidence provided through ground searching can add information to that…(which) can help communities narrow-down those graves, and lead towards that healing and justice.”

Supernant also points to the need for a more national focus on residential schools and survivors, specifically in the Atlantic provinces.

“There needs to be a voice of Atlantic Canada, and especially from the lands of Nova Scotia,” says Supernant.

A focus on healing

Allan Knockwood is a residential school survivor, and a member of the National Advisory Committee.

He says for survivors, a big part of this event is truth-telling.

“However harmful or hurtful that truth may be, it has to be out there,” says Knockwood.

Allan Knockwood, a residential school survivor, says truth-telling is key in the healing process. Vanessa Wright/Global News

“There are too many kids out there that have gone missing. Too many unfound bodies in the ground still. And that’s my primary thing right now, is keeping that momentum alive so we can find all of our kids.”


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