PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLICATION
The Kahnistensera (Mohawk Mothers) are deeply concerned about the recent actions of McGill University and the Société Québécoise des Infrastructures’ (SQI) in the archaeological search for unmarked burials at the New Vic site. Despite publicly stating their support for the court ordered process and commitment to reconciliation, McGill and SQI have unilaterally terminated the panel’s ordered mandate. They also did not follow through on several recommendations in the Settlement Agreement signed in April 2023 and homologated in the Quebec Superior Court.
McGill and SQI recently rejected recommendations from the Panel to include a forensics expert to oversee the ‘chain of custody’ of artefacts, an essential part of a credible investigation. The Settlement Agreement was part of an injunction won by the Mohawk Mothers in October 2022. The New Vic construction project was halted in order to allow for an “Indigenous-led” investigation of unmarked graves. This process is constantly being interfered with by the SQI and McGill to try to control the whole process, reducing the role of Indigenous people to performing ceremonies on the site.
One panel member resigned during these troubling developments. Mohawk Mother Kahentinetha declared the turn of events “deplorable”. Mohawk Mother Kwetiio stated that “it is very unfortunate that the SQI, as a Quebec public institution, appears to prefer waste public funds and time to keep Indigenous elders from revealing the truth about the fate of their children. We wanted an open dialogue to resolve the disagreements over implementing the Settlement Agreement. It is unacceptable that Quebec and McGill forcefully violate a court ordered ‘indigenous lead’ search for the unmarked graves of potential victims of their institutions.”
False Narratives: On August 3rd, 2023, McGill University and the SQI published newsletters disclosing part of the results of a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey performed by Geoscan on July 24, 2023, which we received the day before on August 2nd, 2023. See attached newsletters. The SQI and McGill did not consult the Kahnistensera (Mohawk Mothers) before making it public. These newsletters contain misleading information that must be corrected.
The SQI’s newsletter suggests that “to date, no burials have been found”, while in reality excavations are underway to find the human remains detected by search dogs in front of the Hersey Pavilion, and where important evidence was found in the soil, including a young woman’s dress and an old pair of children’s leather shoes. The SQI’s newsletter failed to mention the verbal attack last week of Mohawk cultural monitors and elders on the site, who were evicted and verbally aggressed by unidentified security guards under the direction of the SQI. Someone’s phone was illegally grabbed and the video content was erased. In the GPR report, the SQI and McGill’s newsletters mislead the public into believing that only nine (9) anomalies were found in the small “priority zone”, where construction work was started. A far greater number of “unknown” targets were detected by the GPR team, who suggest that, “It is possible that some of the unknown features may be unmarked graves, particularly in the case of older burials without coffins and also possibly child-size graves.”
The burials now being searched follow the testimonies of survivors of medical experiments at the former hospital. They could be children who may have been clandestinely buried without coffins. For more information write at firstname.lastname@example.org Consult www.mohawkmothers.ca Donate at https://fundrazr.com/e23JRc
READ MORE BACKGROUND FROM APTN: https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/archeological-dig-old-montreal-hospital-on-hold-mcgill-university/
SOME MORE INFORMATION IN LEDEVOIR: further excavations needed at the Royal Victoria – https://www.ledevoir.com/societe/795754/des-fouilles-plus-poussees-sont-necessaires-au-royal-victoria