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Metis community to begin search for unmarked graves at St. Albert residential school site

Last Updated Jun 30, 2021 at 11:53 am MDT

Photo of children at the St. Albert Youville Residential School. (Photo via the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.)

Editor’s note: This article contains some disturbing details about experiences at residential schools in Canada and may be upsetting to some readers. For those in need of emotional support, the 24-hour Residential Schools Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419.

EDMONTON –  A community near Edmonton is set to begin using ground-penetrating radar to look for gravesites at a former residential school site.

Metis Local 1904 in St. Albert-Sturgeon County says it will be speaking with First Nations leaders about how to best honour and identify the children they expect to find buried at the former St. Albert Youville Residential School.

According to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the St. Albert residential school grew out of a Roman Catholic mission school that had originally been established for Métis children at the Lac Ste. Anne Mission in 1859.


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A few years later it was moved to St. Albert.

It was closed in 1948.

Metis Local 1904 will also be exploring the recently identified burial area at Riverlot 56.

“Our Métis citizens and children should not get lost in the broader discussions related to residential schools. That’s why it’s important we do the ground-truthing to identify any children buried in unmarked graves in the St. Albert area,” said Metis Nation of Alberta President Audrey Poitras.


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“We will work to identify them, acknowledge their existence by telling their story and hopefully have those stories contribute to the healing within our families and to the process of reconciliation that needs to happen, and is happening.”

The community says in a release it will be partnering with the University of Alberta’s Dr. Kisha Supernant, who specializes in Indigenous archaeology.