Minimal funding from province for grounds search for unmarked graves at former Mohawk Institute

OHSWEKEN — Six Nations says the province is not providing enough financial support for searching the grounds of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School.

In a letter to the premier, Elected Chief Mark Hill said the Indian Affairs deputy minister would only commit $400,000 over three years to conduct the search.

Chief Hill said the offer was contrary to reconciliation efforts committed to by the premier.

The Survivors Secretariat, which was set up to lead the search of the former residential school ground for unmarked graves, has requested $6 million dollars over the next three years to complete its work.

Meanwhile, Ontario plans to spend $36 million on mental health and addictions supports in Indigenous communities.

The province says $20 million in programs will go to supporting survivors of residential schools.

It says the money is for trauma-informed and culturally appropriate supports as Indigenous organizations search for burial sites near former residential schools in Ontario.

Another $16 million is being earmarked for mental health and addictions supports for children and youth, victim healing services, and an Indigenous-led response to opioid use and related deaths.

The province says it recognizes that recent discoveries of burial sites found near residential schools around Canada have increased the demand for services.

Ontario Regional Chief Glen Hare says the opioid crisis, the pandemic and recent burial-site discoveries add up to a “perfect storm” of mental health needs.

He says the funding announced Friday will help offer Indigenous-focused support as residential school survivors, families and communities heal from intergenerational trauma.

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