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Upon the discovery of child graves at a former residential school in Kamloops, Alberta lowered flags on all provincial government buildings for a period of nine days in remembrance of those lost to the horrific legacy of the residential school system. This was done to acknowledge not just those found in Kamloops, but also for those who will no doubt be found in the future as other former residential school sites are properly explored.
And it is crucially important that that work take place. Alberta’s government is providing $8 million to support community-led research across the province to research undocumented deaths and burials in residential schools.
The Government of Canada has designated Sept. 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, which will see Alberta government building flags lowered to half-mast to honour lives lost at residential schools. But we cannot limit our acknowledgment to just one day.
That’s why Alberta’s government will work with First Nations and Métis communities in establishing a permanent memorial on the Alberta legislature grounds for the victims of the residential school system, so that those who were so deeply affected by the terrible legacy of residential schools will forever be remembered. Further information on the process establishing the memorial will be announced in the near future.
Lastly, the Government of Alberta is also committed to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s provincial calls to action, including helping Indigenous Albertans reclaim their traditional Indigenous names.