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Statement on Discovery at former Mohawk Institute Residential School Site

The Halton Children’s Aid Society (Halton CAS) is devastated by the announcement confirming the deaths of 97 children at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School (Mohawk Institute) in Brantford, Ontario. This information came through a collaboration with Know History, a professional historical research firm who indicated the 97 children died from illness or injury.

According to media reports, Know History and the Survivor’s Secretariat have worked together for nine months, resulting in the identification of 4,581 names of children who attended the former Mohawk Institute as well as 725 names of people who worked there in some capacity. The team has also discovered over 12,000 records relevant to the institute across 23 institutions.

An ongoing ground search on the site of the former Mohawk Institute began in November 2021 and will take years to complete as only 1.5 percent of the roughly 243 hectares has been searched.

Locating these historical artifacts and unmarked graves is a tragic reminder of the abuse that Indigenous children and their families endured in the residential school system and the intergenerational trauma that continues today.

Halton CAS is committed to acknowledging the historical and ongoing harm Indigenous Peoples endure in Canada. We accept the responsibility as a child welfare organization to correct the over-representation of Indigenous children and youth in our care and the disparities that Indigenous people experience when they engage with our agency. We are committed to deepening our collective understanding of this history by forging meaningful partnerships with Indigenous service providers and communities, learning from their experiences and teachings and ensuring we remain accountable to Indigenous communities as we decolonize our policies and practices. We encourage everyone to reflect on the lives lost and families forever changed.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1.866.925.4419.