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Mass Graves of Residential School Children Identified – Independent Inquiry Launched
Press Statement: April 10, 2008
We are gathered today to publicly disclose the location of twenty eight mass graves of children who died in Indian Residential Schools across Canada , and to announce the formation of an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of children in these schools.
We estimate that there are hundreds, and possibly thousands, of children buried in these grave sites alone.
The Catholic, Anglican and United Church , and the government of Canada, operated the schools and hospitals where these mass graves are located. We therefore hold these institutions and their officers legally responsible and liable for the deaths of these children.
We have no confidence that the very institutions of church and state that are responsible for these deaths can conduct any kind of impartial or real inquiry into them. Accordingly, as of April 15, 2008, we are establishing an independent, non-governmental inquiry into the death and disappearance of Indian residential school children across Canada .
This inquiry shall be known as The International Human Rights Tribunal into Genocide in Canada (IHRTGC), and is established under the authority of the following hereditary chiefs, who shall serve as presiding judges of the Tribunal:
Hereditary Chief Kiapilano of the Squamish Nation
Chief Louis Daniels (Whispers Wind), Anishinabe Nation Chief Svnoyi Wohali (Night Eagle), Cherokee Nation
Lillian Shirt, Clan Mother, Cree Nation
Elder Ernie Sandy, Anishinabe (Ojibway) Nation
Hereditary Chief Steve Sampson, Chemainus Nation
Ambassador Chief Red Jacket of Turtle Island
Today, we are releasing to this Tribunal and to the people of the world the enclosed information on the location of mass graves connected to Indian residential schools and hospitals in order to prevent the destruction of this crucial evidence by the Canadian government, the RCMP and the Anglican, Catholic and United Church of Canada.
We call upon indigenous people on the land where these graves are located to monitor and protect these sites vigilantly, and prevent their destruction by occupational forces such as the RCMP and other government agencies.
Our Tribunal will commence on April 15 by gathering all of the evidence, including forensic remains, that is necessary to charge and indict those responsible for the deaths of the children buried therein.
Once these persons have been identified and detained, they will be tried and sentenced in indigenous courts of justice established by our Tribunal and under the authority of hereditary chiefs.
As a first step in this process, the IHRTGC will present this list of mass graves along with a statement to the United Nations in New York City on April 19, 2008. The IHRTGC will be asking the United Nations to declare these mass graves to be protected heritage sites, and will invite international human rights observers to monitor and assist its work.
Issued by the Elders and Judges of the IHRTGC
Interim Spokesperson: Eagle Strong Voice
Email: genocidetribunal [at] yahoo [dot] ca pager: 1-888-265-1007
IHRTGC Sponsors include The Friends and Relatives of the Disappeared, The Truth Commission into Genocide in Canada, the Defensoria Indigenia of Guatemala, Canadians for the Separation of Church and State, and a confederation of indigenous elders across Canada and Turtle Island.