Anawak to help guide federal committee on unmarked residential school graves
Former Nunavut MP one of six members of survivors’ circle
Jack Anawak, the former MP for what is now Nunavut, is one of six people named to a Circle of Survivors who will guide a federal committee on the search for unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools.
On Wednesday, Crown-Indigenous Relations Canada issued a news release announcing the establishment of the National Advisory Committee on Residential Schools Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.
The committee’s responsibility is to bring together individuals with a wide-range of experience and expertise in areas such as Indigenous laws and cultural protocols, forensics, archeology, archival research, criminal investigations, communication and working with survivors, the release said.
It’s estimated that 150,000 First Nations, Inuit and Métis children attended 139 residential schools that operated in Canada from the 1880s until, in some cases, the late 1990s. The government-sanctioned program separated Indigenous young people from their language and culture by removing them from their families and communities.
“As Indigenous communities undertake the difficult and essential work to locate and commemorate burial sites at former residential schools, the National Advisory Committee will ensure Indigenous-led and culturally sensitive technical advice is available to support their work,” said Crown-Indigenous Relations minister Marc Miller in the news release.
Anawak served as the Liberal MP for Nunatsiaq from 1988 to 1997, before the riding was renamed to Nunavut. He also served as the MLA for Rankin Inlet North in the legislative assembly from 1999 to 2004.
Romeo Saganash, the former NDP MP for Abitibi–Baie-James–Nunavik–Eeyou, is also one of the six members of the Circle of Survivors.