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‘Namgis First Nation investigating St. Michael’s Residential School

This story may contain information that is difficult for many. A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support to former residential school students who can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

A residential school on Cormorant Island is being investigated by the local First Nation.

The ‘Namgis First Nation has launched its inquiry into the former St. Michael’s Indian Residential School (IRS) grounds.

The project will involve ‘Namgis First Nation Chief and Council, St. Michael’s IRS survivors, project steering committee and communities connected to the former grounds, according to an announcement from the Nation Thursday.

The project will take place in different phases.

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A project manager will assist with access to funding and begin researching archives, historical records and oral history, according to the Nation. They will also create a project strategy and plan engagements with survivors.

They will also invite survivors of the 45 First Nations who attended the school to take part in the engagements and recommend and supervise contractors to examine the grounds for potential burial sites.

Ground-penetrating radar will be used after research is finished and data analysis is conducted.

Information will be provided in a public media release after the investigation. The Nation says the priority for them is to support survivors and community members affected.

“Our priority is to support the mental health and wellness of the survivors, intergenerational survivors of St. Michael’s IRS and all community members affected by the trauma of the history of Canadian IRS,” said the release.

“As this is a difficult topic for many to relive, throughout the project the steering committee will provide access to culturally safe and trauma-informed mental health supports for survivors and their descendants plus all community members.”

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The committee is also welcoming survivors to join the investigation on an advisory council.

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