SIX NATIONS OF THE GRAND RIVER – The Survivors’ Secretariat is pleased to announce that Dr. Beverly Jacobs, Mohawk Nation of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, Bear Clan, CM, LLB, LLM, PhD, has agreed to take on the role of Indigenous Human Rights Monitor for the Mohawk Institute Survivors’ Secretariat.
Given the long and documented history of the failures of the justice system, in particular the death investigation system as it relates to the deaths of Indigenous people, the Survivors’ Secretariat wishes to appoint an Indigenous Human Rights Monitor to monitor, verify and report back to the Survivors on the work of the Multi-Jurisdictional Police Task Force’s investigation.
The Objectives of the Indigenous Human Rights Monitor are to ensure that integrity, fairness, transparency and accountability are upheld throughout the Task Force’s investigation by:
a) Ensuring that Haudenosaunee Legal Principles are applied and respected;
b) Ensuring that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity are adhered to;
c) Ensuring that the Ontario Victims’ Bill of Rights and the Joinet-Orentlicher Principles of the right to know, the right to justice and the right to non-recurrence, are followed; and
d) Assisting in building Survivors’ and community trust and confidence in the Task Force’s investigation.
“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jacobs as the Indigenous Human Rights Monitor,” said Kimberly Murray, Executive Lead for the Survivors’ Secretariat. “Her integrity, professional accomplishments, and commitment to Indigenous justice is integral to the Secretariat’s mandate of sharing the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute — the longest operating residential school in Canada.”
“I am truly honoured to accept this role and that the Survivors’ Group has confidence in me to do this work,” said Dr. Jacobs. “The Secretariat’s model of Survivor-led, trauma-informed investigation and community reporting is an essential step towards recovery, reclamation and healing for Survivors and families of the Mohawk Institute as well as for all Indigenous peoples in Canada. This is just the beginning to address the insidious legacy of residential schools in this country.”
“Our Human Rights were not protected when we were forced to attend the Mohawk Institute. It is clear to us that proper and full death investigations were not conducted in relation to the deaths of children at the Mohawk Institute during the years it was in operation. We are confident that with Dr. Jacobs’ monitoring of the Task Force’s Investigation, it will be conducted with greater fairness, integrity and transparency and that our Human Rights will be protected,” said Roberta Hill, Survivor of the Mohawk Institute.
Dr. Beverly Jacobs received a PhD (Interdisciplinary Graduate Program including Law, Indigenous Research Methodologies and Indigenous Health) from the University of Calgary. She is Associate Dean (Academic) at the University of Windsor’s Faculty of Law. Dr. Jacobs practices law part-time at her home community of Six Nations of the Grand River and is the former president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada. Dr. Jacobs was inducted as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2018.
The Survivors’ Secretariat was established in 2021 to organize and support efforts to discover, document, and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute during its 136 years of operation. The Secretariat will be coordinating protocols and processes in the death investigation, gathering statements, conducting historical research, supporting commemoration initiatives and coordinating with impacted communities.
For further information: Dr. Beverly Jacobs, Indigenous Human Rights Monitor, Survivors’ Secretariat and Associate Dean (Academic), Windsor Law: Beverly@SurvivorsSecretariat.ca; Kimberly R. Murray, Executive Lead, Survivors’ Secretariat and former Executive Director to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: info@SurvivorsSecretariat.ca; The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience; Indigenous Victim Services Direct Line: 1-866-964-5920. After hours & weekends: 1-866-445-2204.