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‘We will continue to survive,’ residential school survivor reflects in Portage La Prairie

Click to play video: '‘We will continue to survive,’ residential school survivor reflects as province announces support for uncovering burial sites' ‘We will continue to survive,’ residential school survivor reflects as province announces support for uncovering burial sites
The province has revealed more on how it intends to spend millions in funding that was promised last year for preserving residential school burial sites. And as Marney Blunt reports, the day was focused on healing, and listening to stories from survivors – Jun 15, 2022

Provincial officials, Indigenous leaders, elders and survivors attended ceremonies at a former residential school in Portage la Prairie on Wednesday.

The event was held to identify, commemorate and protect burial sites of Manitoba children who were part of the residential school system.

“We will continue to survive…. We will continue to flourish,” Métis survivor Charlotte Nolin said at the ceremony.

Click to play video: 'Residential school survivors speak at Portage La Prairie event' Residential school survivors speak at Portage La Prairie event
Residential school survivors speak at Portage La Prairie event – Jun 15, 2022

Many survivors shared their stories, including Eleanor Elk, a Dakota residential school survivor.

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Click to play video: 'Premier, Indigenous leaders meet in Portage La Prairie to discuss residential school burial sites' Premier, Indigenous leaders meet in Portage La Prairie to discuss residential school burial sites
Premier, Indigenous leaders meet in Portage La Prairie to discuss residential school burial sites – Jun 15, 2022

“We as Indigenous people… we need to go on,” said Elk. “Indigenous people are strong with our prayers.”

The Manitoba government announced $2.5 million in funding, which it promised last year to help find and commemorate unmarked graves at former residential schools.

The money will be distributed among the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, the Manitoba Metis Federation and the Manitoba Inuit Association.

The former residential school in Portage La Prairie closed its doors in 1975 and was designated a national historic site in 2020.

The former residential school in Portage la Prairie.
The former residential school in Portage la Prairie. Manitoba Historic Resources Branch

Read more: ‘Tip of the iceberg’ — 6 potential unmarked graves found near former Pine Creek residential school

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Thanks to technology such as ground-penetrating radar, two more Manitoba First Nations recently joined the ever-growing list of communities across the country where possible graves have been discovered at sites of former residential schools.

Sagkeeng First Nation found 190 anomalies in the soil, while six anomalies were found at Minegoziibe Anishinabe First Nation last week.

Initial radar data suggests some of the anomalies could fit the criteria for buried remains, but more information is needed.

A 24/7 support line is available for residential school survivors and their families: the Residential School Survivor Support Line 1-866-925-4419

 

Click to play video: '‘We don’t want people to hurt anymore’ – Survivor Eleanor Elk reflects on trauma from residential schools' ‘We don’t want people to hurt anymore’ – Survivor Eleanor Elk reflects on trauma from residential schools
‘We don’t want people to hurt anymore’ – Survivor Eleanor Elk reflects on trauma from residential schools – Jun 15, 2022

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