Ontario government has pledged $10 million to “investigate, identify and commemorate”

Alderville’s school not on the map of possible locations

Article by Valerie MacDonald/Images by ©TAP

The Alderville First Nation Industrial School built in 1849 was not included on the map of Indian Residential Schools the Minister of Indigenous Relations shared with the Chief of Ontario Assembly this week, says Alderville First Nation Chief Dave Mowat who participated in the Zoom meeting.

This omission follows the announcement by the Ontario Government this week that it is dedicating $10-million to help locate the unmarked graves of Indigenous children who attended residential schools in the province. Premier Doug Ford said the money is to investigate, identify and commemorate the burial sites.

The announcement by Ford was sparked by the discovery of 215 Indigenous children in unmarked graves near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. several weeks ago, and the outpouring of concern from both First Nations and non-First Nations people about the tragedy.

“I’m not signing up to seek (some of the $10-million in) funding from the Province of Ontario,” Mowat said in an interview with the News Now Network, reiterating that the school building that was located near the current band offices was omitted from the provincial map. There is already an investigation under way he claims. 

The industrial school in Alderville is considered a forerunner to later residential schools where young people were taken from their homes to attend and learn a new culture and language. Mowat said he pointed out the omission of the former Alderville school during the zoom meeting held June 15 with Minister Greg Rickford.

Years ago, some early GPS work was undertaken to look at possible communal burials behind the community church built in 1870. Mowat says he has reached out to a Queen’s University professor to undertake “advanced GPS work” in the area. A boundary line has to be determined yet, and some of that work could be related to the local industrial school.

“It makes sense to factor that work” into the Queen’s discussions about the project, he said.

Mowat was speaking from the continuing meeting of the Chiefs of Ontario Assembly.

Sign located in Alderville beside First Nation office.