4 C
Prince Albert
Saturday, April 20, 2024
Home News Northern chiefs meet with federal minister over Timber Bay Children’s Home status

Northern chiefs meet with federal minister over Timber Bay Children’s Home status

0
Northern chiefs meet with federal minister over Timber Bay Children’s Home status
PAGC Grand Chief Briand Hardlotte, Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Joyce McLeod Naytowhow, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Karen Bird, Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson pose for a photo following a virtual meeting with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller. -- Submitted photo.

Northern Indigenous leaders are focusing on the positives following a virtual meeting with Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller on recognizing the Timber Bay Children’s Home as a residential school.

PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte, Montreal Lake Cree Nation Chief Joyce McLeod Naytowhow, Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation Chief Karen Bird, Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, and FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron were all part of a virtual meeting with Miller on Feb. 4.

“We all left the meeting feeling confident that Minister Miller heard the voices of our Chiefs on this matter,” Hardlotte said in a media release. “For too long we have argued that Canada needs to assume responsibility of this institution, because the children were place there away from the family by or under the authority of Canada for the purpose of education, and that they were jointly or solely responsible for the operation of the residence and care of the children.”

The three woodland chiefs made presentations about the history of the school, and argued it should be included in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). PBCN Chief Karen Bird Canada had authority and responsibility for the safety of those children, and that hasn’t changed over time.

“Canada maintained and continued to maintain responsibility for the children who were sent off-reserve to Timber Bay Children’s Home for the purposes of education,” Bird said. “To be denied this recognition is another abuse that these children continue to endure at the hands of the Canadian government.”

The Timber Bay Children’s Home opened in 1952 as an overflow facility other residential schools in the north, including the Prince Albert Residential School. The chiefs argued that it was unfair for one child who stated at his or her original school to be considered a residential school student, while a sibling or cousin who was sent away to Timber Bay was not.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron argued students in Timber Bay were forced to attend against their will, and against the will of their families and communities. For that reason alone, he said, they deserve recognition and compensation.

“Hundreds of our children that attended this school faced the same genocide, the same atrocities, and the same abuses as the thousands of Indian Residential School survivors across our Treaty territories,” he said in a media release. “We will not stop until they receive their rightful recognition and compensation.”

Both the provincial and federal governments funded the Timber Bay Children’s Home at various times. The home operated under various names, but was run by the Northern Canada Evangelical Mission from 1952 until 1969, when a Mennonite denomination called the Brethren in Christ Church took over.

The Saskatchewan RCMP’s Historical Case Unit – North began investigating circumstances surrounding a death that might have occurred at the home in 1974. RCMP received the complaint on Oct. 21, 202, and obtained their first recorded statement on July 8, 2021. At the time, it was the only case involving a residential school under investigation by the historical case unit.