Calls for Catholic Church to release residential school records
January 15, 2022
Indigenous leaders across Canada called on the federal government, the churches, and the Vatican to release any remaining records related to residential schools, despite Ottawa’s pleas that it has handed over all its records.
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation disputed the government’s claims, saying that records from Library and Archives Canada, from provinces, and others were still missing. Many of the churches were previously denounced for failing to turn over their records and for failing to meet their financial obligations from the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.
Quebec First Nations launch self-government initiative
May 24, 2022
The Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador launched an Office of Self-Determination and Self-Government to support First Nations that wish to write their own laws. The initiative came after relations reached a low-point between the province and First Nations, with many pointing to Quebec Premier François Legault’s failure to respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the government’s ultimately successful efforts to impose French-language legislation.
Chisasibi to conduct ground-penetrating radar searches
July 20, 2022
Chisasibi announced in June that it would pursue ground searches at residential school sites on Fort George Island. The announcement came a year after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at a residential school in Kamloops, BC, rocked the country.
Experts suggested there could be two cemeteries on the island, where two residential schools operated between 1933 and 1981. The community plans to use ground-penetrating radar at the schools, run by both the Anglican and Catholic churches.
Quebec First Nations sign historic education agreement
August 3, 2022
The First Nations Education Council signed a $1.1 billion, five-year agreement in July that would empower 22 First Nations in Quebec to have financial control over their education systems. The agreement is meant to support 5,800 students from kindergarten to Grade 11 based on their communities’ education models and priorities.
Pope’s Canadian tour prompts demands to rescind Discovery Doctrine
August 17, 2022
Pope Francis wrapped up an emotional week travelling across Canada making a number of statements on behalf of the Catholic Church lamenting its role in perpetuating the residential school system, and said he considered the system a “genocide.”
Indigenous leaders have continued to push for the Catholic Church to release all its records relating to residential schools and to rescind the Doctrine of Discovery. Others called for the Church to pay the financial damages that were awarded against it to residential school survivors, and said public pressure had to remain on the Church until it upholds its obligations.
Michael Petawabano elected Chief of Mistissini
August 17, 2022
Michael Petawabano was elected as Chief of Mistissini in a run-off vote July 20, while John S. Matoush was elected Deputy Chief. Petawabano was previously employed in construction before becoming a police officer for 15 years, and eventually working for Cree Human Resources Development. He said his focus would be on education, the economy and social issues.
Wallbridge inks agreement with Cree communities for mine project
September 14, 2022
Wallbridge Mining Company signed an agreement with the Cree Nation Government, Grand Council of the Crees, Waskaganish and Washaw Sibi in August that would allow the company to develop gold mines throughout Eeyou Istchee.
The company identified gold deposits potentially valued at $8 billion at two sites south of Waskaganish. The parties agreed to cooperate on environmental and social impact studies while the mine is deemed viable, at which point an Impact and Benefit Agreement could be negotiated.
Waswanipi elects new Chief and Deputy
September 29, 2022
Waswanipi First Nation elected Irene Neeposh as Chief and Rhonda Oblin Cooper as Deputy Chief in a September election. Neeposh said that her priorities would be staying connected with community members and organizing public events to gather feedback and have discussions with the community.
Hopes grow for MoCreebec recognition
October 13, 2022
The Grand Council of the Crees and the Cree Nation Government signed an agreement to begin discussions that could end with the MoCreebec Eeyoud being recognized as a distinct community. In 2017, the Grand Council recognized the MoCreebec as the 11th Cree community, but they have remained without a land base.
Last October, MoCreebec held a referendum and voted to select Moosonee, Ontario as the base for their new community. Next steps involve negotiations with the federal government to recognize the community that is largely made up of residential school survivors and their descendants who were taken from Eeyou Istchee and sent to school in Moose Factory.
O’Bonsawin appointed Canada’s first Indigenous Supreme Court judge
October 13, 2022
Michelle O’Bonsawin of Odanak First Nation was appointed as the first Indigenous judge on the Supreme Court of Canada. She was raised in the community of Hanmer, Ontario, an off-reserve francophone community.
Many Indigenous leaders praised the move, which they said was important for both representation but also to have someone familiar with Indigenous culture, teachings and laws. O’Bonsawin previously became the first Indigenous Superior Court Judge in Ontario in 2017.