Cowassess First Nation Justin Trudeau

Trudeau visits Cowessess First Nation: “It’s hard to find words that are enough”

“I am sorry that this ever happened to you, to your loved ones and to your community.”

On Tuesday afternoon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with residential school survivors in Cowessess First Nation in Saskatechewan, where 751 unmarked graves were discovered last month. This was the second of three such horrific discoveries in western Canada in June.

An agreement with Cowessess First Nation and the province of Saskatechewan was signed yesterday and funding was announced for the implementation of the First Nations Child and Family Services system. Trudeau called this “a historic step in our journey to reconiliation, but it’s only one step.”

“We must face the dark and shameful chapters of our history — and the multi-generational impacts that these horrors have caused. To those I heard from today, I am sorry that this ever happened to you, to your loved ones, and to your community. Your stories serve as a painful reminder of the importance of supporting First Nations jurisdiction over the well-being of their children. Today and always, our government will continue to partner with Indigenous peoples and walk the path of reconciliation.”

Trudeau also released a message via Twitter following his visit to the site of the unmarked graves in Cowessess First Nation, offering his support on the path to reconciliation.

“After hearing from residential school survivors and seeing the unmarked graves in Cowessess First Nation, it’s hard to find words that are enough. But to all those affected: Know that I am here as your partner, to walk the path of reconciliation and right these historical wrongs.”

Also on Tuesday, the Métis Federation in neighbouring Manitoba signed a self-government agreement with the federal government.

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