MC Sask response to discovery of unmarked graves at Marieval Indian Residential School

The congregations of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan sit in a season of grief in the wake of the discovery of a further 751 unmarked graves near a former Indian residential school close by the Cowessess First Nation. We lament in solidarity with the sorrow of Indigenous neighbours and communities throughout southeast Saskatchewan and southwest Manitoba whose children were abducted to the Marieval Indian Residential School. We offer our grief to all those who are impacted by the news of these deaths, and we pray for all those who bear the wounds of the residential school system, as well as for those who have been retraumatized by this discover

As congregations of Mennonite Church Saskatchewan, we renew our efforts to understand the impact Indian Residential Schools continue to have on our Indigenous neighbours and seek to implement the TRC's Calls to Action (esp. calls 48-49, 58-61, and 73-75), pursuing a just (re)conciliation where tending wounds fosters the healing and hope of beloved community.

 Mennonite Central Committee Saskatchewan has developed a list of suggested initial actions you and your congregation might consider in their “Lament & Call to Churches: Response to unmarked graves in Saskatchewan,” published on June 24, 2021. These include,

  • If we in our churches do not know and acknowledge the devastating truth of Indian Residential Schools yet, we must do so now.
  • If we in our churches do not know and acknowledge the truth of systemic discrimination in Canada’s legal system past and present, we must do so now.
  • If we in our churches do not know about and acknowledge the overwhelming challenges, past and present, facing Indigenous families, women, and children, we must do so now.
  • If we in our churches do not know about and acknowledge the reality of this nation’s colonial past, including the Doctrine of Discovery and the colonial settlement of the prairies, we must do so now.

May the Creator's tender mercy and promise of justice be with all who grieve.

In the name of the Crucified One,

Ryan Siemens

Executive Minister, Mennonite Church Saskatchewan