The Islamic Association of Saskatchewan with the larger Muslim Community stands in solidarity with the Cowessess First Nation on discovering the 751 unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, about 160 km from Regina.
Children are the inheritors of what we do in this life. Indigenous teachings provide that we put them in the centre of what we do and surround them with love and prayer. The pain of missing what should be at the centre of what we do makes the human heart heavy. For this, the Muslim community offers our heartfelt condolences, our love, our prayers, and our support for Indigenous communities. The pain of some in our community is pain for all in our community.
We also recognize that awareness of chapters in our history, and especially the dark ones, are something we should not shy away from or fail to confront. Indigenous teachings provide that the stories we tell about ourselves shape us and that “our stories cannot be separated from their geographical locations, from actual physical places on the land”. These unmarked graves tell a story that we cannot ignore.
Given this, we encourage our members and the wider community to educate to themselves this chapter. In Saskatchewan, it was in 1996 that the last residential school in Canada closed. This is not history. The effects of these institutions critically traumatize their victims. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation preserves this chapter. For a more comprehensive, sobering canvas of this chapter, we encourage our members and the wider community to review The Truth and Reconciliation Report.
With love and prayer