Statement on Information Shared by the Stó:lō Nation

by ahnationtalk on September 25, 202361 Views

The preliminary research findings about the initial number of deaths and the need for further ground research into both the known cemetery and unmarked graves at the Coqualeetza residential institution were outlined by the Stó:lō Nation in a qwōlqwel swáyel, a “day for telling news; talking together day.”

The United Church of Canada was an active and willing participant in the operation of residential institutions. We were wrong to participate in this colonial, racist, and oppressive system. Once again, we are confronted with the consequences of our actions.

“As with previous announcements from caretaker communities, the church will not look away from the truth that continues to be uncovered,” The Rt Rev Dr. Carmen Lansdowne, Moderator of The United Church of Canada, said. “The United Church of Canada continues our commitment to live into our Apologies, to be accountable, and to further the work of truth and reconciliation in concrete acts of justice and reparation.”

With deep remorse and grief, The United Church of Canada acknowledges the truth that has been revealed at the Coqualeetza institution, which was run by the United Church from 1925 to 1940.

This is not new information for Indigenous communities. Indigenous people have been telling the world about deaths and unmarked gravesites for a very long time and the church knows that you have not always been listened to, or heard. The United Church of Canada offers our deepest sympathies for the children who did not make it home, survivors, the families, communities, and all those impacted by Canada’s residential institution system that tore Indigenous children from their families and communities.

In an effort to better live into our faith, the United Church is taking steps to reconcile with its legacy as perpetrators in the system. We know that our actions have directly contributed to deaths, loss of language and culture, breakdowns of the family unit, and intergenerational trauma.

In order to be faithfully accountable, to live into the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and to follow our own duty of care principles, The United Church of Canada has created the Bringing the Children Home initiative. As an initial act of reparation, our church has allocated $3 million that are for Indigenous communities who have been directly impacted by United Church-related institutions. This initiative is founded on trust-based granting, and is designed to be low-barrier.

The money is to help support the work of research, identifying graves, knowledge gathering, commemoration, ceremony, and direct provision of archival records and support. If your community would like to access these funds, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Media Contact: Lori-Ann Livingston, press and public relations lead,, 416-231-5931 x2051 or 1-800-268-3781 x2051


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