New agreement will assist the search for children who never returned home from residential schools
WINNIPEG — Today, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) and the Manitoba Vital Statistics Branch signed a memorandum of agreement enabling the NCTR to receive copies of provincial records that could hold important information about the residential school system, including the identities of children who died.
To mark this agreement, residential school Survivors, Elders, Indigenous leaders, NCTR staff, representatives from the Manitoba Vital Statistics Branch and the Honourable James Teitsma, Minister of Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services joined the signing ceremony at the Manitoba Legislative Building.
Vital records are kept by the government of Manitoba Vital Statistics Branch, including birth certificates and death certificates.
The agreement is the first step in improving the collaboration between Manitoba Vital Statistics and the NCTR.
The agreement will enable the NCTR to request access to the death certificates of specific students. In this way, the NCTR will be able to build a fuller picture of their lives.
NCTR continues to work with federal, provincial and territorial governments, as well as a wide range of other organizations, to fill important gaps in our collective knowledge of residential school history.
“Cooperation is part of reconciliation and healing. Governments must continue bringing records forward and work together with Survivors and the NCTR so that we can find and honour all those children who went missing at residential school.”
— Elder Florence Paynter, Survivor
“The memorandum of agreement is an important first step toward finding our little ones. Survivors, families and communities have the right to the truth and every piece of information we can access helps us to tell the story.”
— Stephanie Scott, Executive Director, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
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About the NCTR
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) hosted by the University of Manitoba was created to preserve the memory of Canada’s Residential School system and legacy, not just for a few years, but forever. It is the responsibility of the NCTR to steward and share the truths of Survivors’ experiences in a respectful way and to work with Indigenous and non-Indigenous educators, researchers, communities, decision-makers and the general public to support the ongoing work of truth, reconciliation and healing across Canada and beyond.