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Wednesday, May 4, 2022

More than 200 boxes of records under scrutiny by Ottawa, courts for residential school connections

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller says talks ongoing on disclosing of Justice Canada records

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Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller said his department continues to search for documents related to residential schools in Canada. (David Kawai/The Canadian Press)

More than 200 boxes of records are currently under separate court and internal federal reviews to determine their connection to residential schools after they were found in storage facilities within the last year, CBC News has learned.

The records were discovered in Yellowknife and Vancouver storage lockers, according to information provided to CBC News by a Crown-Indigenous Relations (CIRNA) official. 

As a court-appointed firm and federal officials sift through the records, CIRNA Minister Marc Miller said searches continue within his and other departments to find any documents related to the residential school era.

"The state they were found in is entirely unacceptable," Miller said in an interview with CBC News. 

"It is part of this process that I continue as the minister … That work isn't complete and is still ongoing — knowing any piece of information related to that time period can help in closure and getting an understanding of the truth."

The first batch of documents, 125 bankers boxes, was found in June 2021 by the owner of a storage facility in Yellowknife who was clearing out a unit once owned by a now-defunct survivor healing group called the Healing Drum. 

The owner contacted the territory's information commissioner, which then alerted the regional CIRNA office, said Andrew Fox, the Information and Privacy Commissioner for the Northwest Territories.

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Rebecca Tallbear entitled: “DNA, Blood, and Racializing the Tribe”, bearing out what I only inferred:

Detailed discussion of the Bering Strait theory and other scientific theories about the population of the modern-day Americas is beyond the scope of this essay. However, it should be noted that Indian people have expressed suspicion that DNA analysis is a tool that scientists will use to support theories about the origins of tribal people that contradict tribal oral histories and origin stories. Perhaps more important,the alternative origin stories of scientists are seen as intending to weaken tribal land and other legal claims (and even diminish a history of colonialism?) that are supported in U.S. federal and tribal law. As genetic evidence has already been used to resolve land conflicts in Asian and Eastern European countries, this is not an unfounded fear.

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