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Statement on behalf of Enaahtig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre: A Call for Healing

In response to the recent uncovering of the unmarked graves of Indigenous children in discovery across Canada, the following has been prepared on behalf of Enaahtig Healing Lodge and Learning Centre: ​ The stories of missing Indigenous children who never made it home from residential school have been recounted by Indigenous survivors for many years. The use of ground search devices to identify the locations of these children finally validates what Indigenous Elders, seniors and survivors of the residential school era have shared all along. The abuse, degradation and misguided assimilation that occurred at the residential schools is a dark stain on Canada’s history. The effects of intergenerational trauma from these colonial institutions continue today. ​ The recent press coverage and public outrage with respect to these lost Indigenous children has prompted a number of concerned citizens to contact Enaahtig with their shock and disbelief that these atrocities occurred unbeknownst to them. They ask how could they not have known what happened in our own recent history, and I agree “How Could You Not Have Known?” How did you not know; about the public apology in the House of Commons from then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper (see attachment)? For over a decade the Aboriginal Healing Foundation has openly and publicly spoken about their work with survivors of residential schools which led to the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission, was formed to investigate the devastating legacy of forced assimilation and abuses of residential schools, held hearings from 2008 to 2014 and heard the stories of thousands of residential school survivors. In June 2015, this commission released a report based on these hearing that listed 94 Calls to Action focused on reconciliation. All in response to the legacy of the residential schools, how did you not know. Enaahtig does not seek to assign guilt or blame to those of you who are just hearing of the historical suffering and abuse of Indigenous children at the hands of the churches and government or remained unaware of this important work being done. We do however expect that you will educate yourself on what occurred during 150 years of the residential school era. ​ Enaahtig speaks as a provincial healing lodge established in 1996 to address the complex issues experienced by Indigenous communities. These include family violence; alcohol and substance use; poor mental and physical health to name a few. As our work continues to identify the social determinants of these ongoing issues, we can confirm that much relates directly to the legacy of the residential school era. The intergenerational impacts of these schools have not decreased over time and the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse that children suffered at the hands of the Church and Canadian government remains dominant and visible today. ​ Enaahtig continues to work tirelessly beside a number of sister healing lodges and treatment centers across the province to address the ongoing healing needs of our children, youth and their families through a trauma-centered and focused approach to healing. To learn more about the work that has been undertaken by healing lodges in Ontario or Enaahtig specifically, please visit our website: enaahtig.ca or the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services web page and search “Indigenous Healing and Wellness Strategy.” ​ As an essential service, Enaahtig has operated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by modifying our programs and services as per health directives. We are hopeful however, that we will soon be able to host outdoor ceremonies and events to promote the knowledge and healing so desperately needed at this time. Enaahtig is in the planning stages of hosting an outdoor event in early fall “A Call for Healing” ,due to COVID-19 restrictions, we anticipate that this will be by invitation only and will include ceremony, knowledge sharing and to celebrate 25 years of Enaahtig’s healing work. ​ Enaahtig will be sharing more information on this upcoming event on our web page and social media. We look forward to being able to gather, heal and celebrate together. ​ Miigwetch/ Ny;weh Nena La Caille Executive Director


The apology was offered in 2008 on your behalf, as a non-Indigenous citizen of Canada. “… on behalf of the government of Canada and all Canadians, I stand before you, in this chamber so central to our life as a country, to apologize to aboriginal peoples for Canada's role in the Indian residential schools’ system. To the approximately 80,000 living former students, and all family members and communities, the government of Canada now recognizes that it was wrong to forcibly remove children from their homes and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that it was wrong to separate children from rich and vibrant cultures and traditions, that it created a void in many lives and communities, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that, in separating children from their families, we undermined the ability of many to adequately parent their own children and sowed the seeds for generations to follow, and we apologize for having done this. We now recognize that, far too often, these institutions gave rise to abuse or neglect and were inadequately controlled, and we apologize for failing to protect you. Not only did you suffer these abuses as children, but as you became parents, you were powerless to protect your own children from suffering the same experience, and for this we are sorry. The burden of this experience has been on your shoulders for far too long. The burden is properly ours as a government, and as a country.”



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