Wednesday, September 22, 2021

94Quilt: Blocks 72 - 79

I acknowledge that I am living on unceded territory of Anishinaabeg (Source: Canadian Encyclopedia) on the shore of erielhonan, (Iroquoian word meaning 'long tail') now called Lake Erie.

The post that explains my 94Quilt project is here.  Since July 1 I've been making a flying geese block a day as I read one of the 94 Calls to Action, its accompanying explanations and progress report, and links that go with each one.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the main website with a wealth of information.
Beyond 94 is the CBC-created site that is an ongoing report card monitoring how we are doing with the calls.

Trigger Warning: some of the content in today's post can be disturbing for some readers.


72. Develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register created by the TRC.
In progress. Projects underway.
  • In March 2018, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) received funding to support the implementation of this.
  • In the 2019 budget $33.8 million over three years was committed, beginning in 2019, to establish and maintain this, and provide opportunities for commemoration.
  • worth noting this was done prior to the discoveries of several mass graves at these 'schools' in 2021.

73. We call upon the federal government to work with churches, Aboriginal communities and former residential school students to establish and maintain an online registry of residential school cemeteries, including, where possible, plot maps showing the location of deceased residential school children.
In progress. Projects proposed.
  • How many 'regular' schools have cemeteries in or near the school yard? How many white children are buried in unmarked graves run by the Catholic Church, other churches or governments? If this doesn't stop and make you realize the evil that was done, and the lasting trauma for generations, then I don't know what would.
  • Of the money committed in the 2019 budget, $27 million was still available to help Indigenous communities find and commemorate lost children, as announced by Crown-Indigenous Affairs Minister, Carolyn Bennett. In June 2021, she said it would be distributed on "an urgent basis" and in partnership with the NCTR and Indigenous communities conducting searches.
  • In August 2021, she announced an additional $83 million to be added to the programme.
  • More detail on Beyond 94, but the federal Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs launched a study to take a look at why there have been delays in implementing Calls 72-76. "gain a better understanding of the range of Indigenous family and community needs and interests and about how best to move forward..."

74. Inform the families of children who died at residential schools of the child’s burial location.
In progress. Projects proposed.
See previous points as to progress.

75. Develop and implement procedures for the identification and maintenance of residential school cemeteries.
In progress. Projects proposed.
  • In August 2021, the federal government announced that it would create a national advisory committee to advise Indigenous communities and the government about identifying unmarked graves. Let's hope they get on that right away.

76. Aboriginal communities should lead development of residential school cemetery identification and maintenance strategies. Since I use Beyond 94's abbreviated version of the Calls, it is worth reprinting the principles that this Call expects to be followed:
  1. The Aboriginal community most affected shall lead the development of such strategies.
  2. Information shall be sought from residential school Survivors and other Knowledge Keepers in the development of such strategies.
  3. Aboriginal protocol shall be respected before any potentially invasive technical inspection and investigation of a cemetery site.
In progress. Projects proposed.
  • According to Beyond 94, there are a few parties engaged in protecting cemeteries, though they do not necessarily implement all of the requirements within Call 76.

77. Archives to provide residential school records to National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
In progress. Projects underway.
  • The provinces, territories, and are cooperating and sharing data with the NCTR.
  • The NCTR has still not been able to access archives from some church denominations and government archives. (student photos, student lists)

78. Commit to funding of $10 million over seven years to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, plus an additional amount to assist communities to research and produce histories of their own residential school experience and their involvement in truth, healing, and reconciliation.
In progress. Projects underway.
  • The government committed the $10 million funding in 2016.
  • Additional funding has not been announced.

79. Develop a Reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration.
In progress. Projects underway.
There is a lot more to this call than the abbreviated statement above, so I encourage you to head here to read all they suggest for the development of a Reconciliation framework.
  • In September 2020, the government announced the residential school system will be designated an event of national historical significance, 
  • and that two former residential schools would be designated as national historic sites: Portage La Prairie Residential School in Manitoba, and Shubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia.
  • In July 2021, Muscowequan in Saskatchewan and Shingwauk in Ontario were designated national historic sites.
  • We have a National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. In January 2021, Sarah Jerome, an elder with the Gwich'in Nation was appointed as the Northwest Territories Representative, and in June 2021, Rae Mombourquette a Tlingit Acadian citizen of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation was appointed as the Yukon representative.

Here is the quilt on my design wall. Eight of the ten rows are complete, Call/block 75 is the last one here. The five hearts indicate the previous five sections of the Calls to Action; there will be a sixth heart in the final column for the sixth and final section which is Reconciliation.

Sites, Articles, Books of Interest
This article by the CBC is brief but informative, giving a few firsthand accounts from residential school survivors of the first two schools designated as national historical sites.

I think this quote from Ry Moran, the director of the NCTR expresses it very well, as to the reason for and importance of these designations:
"It’s an exceptionally important step in our country's recognition of the harms that it has created within Indigenous communities. The places themselves are but shells of what occurred there. Really, what we are looking to do with all of this work is to honour, remember, acknowledge what it is that those students who attended those schools suffered through, and the incredible gift that they have given us, collectively as a country, to better understand ourselves."


  1. I like Ry Moran's quote. Lovely blocks and the top looks good!

  2. I remember hearing something about this in the news a while back. A great remembrance project.