We note with sadness the passing of Shirley Roach, a survivor of the Shingwauk Indian Residential School here in Sault Ste. Marie. Shirley worked for many years with local institutions to support Indigenous students, to advocate for education, to lead reconciliation efforts.
Shirley Roach was deeply concerned about the revelations of thousands of mass and unmarked graves at residential school sites across the country. Here in Sault Ste. Marie, about 80 students lie buried in a small cemetery behind the main building of Algoma University. These were young children who died at the Shingwauk Residential School, far from their parents and communities.
NDP candidate Marie Morin-Strom says that a New Democrat government would fully fund the search for grave sites at former residential schools, as well as the maintenance of residential school cemeteries according to the wishes of Indigenous families, residential school survivors and communities.
“It’s time to find the records for every child who was sent to residential school,” said Morin-Strom.
Survivors of the Shingwauk Residential School have worked to guide healing and reconciliation work both locally and across Canada. Thanks to their work, an extensive photo and document archive has been compiled, and the records of the Aboriginal Healing Foundation are now housed at Algoma University.
“Reconciliation is only possible if we are committed to truth, justice and accountability,” said Morin-Strom. “New Democrats recognize this, and that’s why an NDP government will support the work of survivors by ensuring the appointment of a special prosecutor to pursue those responsible for the unspeakable harm inflicted on Indigenous children and their families by Canada’s residential school system. We will as well fund community-driven solutions for healing.’