Recent discovery of unmarked graves 



Message on residential schools from President Goel

By Vivek Goel President and Vice-Chancellor

The University of Waterloo acknowledges and stands in support of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation regarding the recent announcement of 171 plausible burials at the St. Mary’s Indian Residential School.  

We recognize Indigenous communities suffer renewed trauma when unmarked graves near former residential schools are confirmed. This trauma increases as more burial sites are discovered. Such revelations often reopen the wounds caused by the erasure of Indigenous cultures through colonialism and the continued discrimination and stigma that Indigenous peoples face.  

As an educational institution within Canada, we will continue to honour our commitment to Indigenous peoples, communities, histories and ways of knowing.  As a campus community, we will continue to prioritize bringing awareness to the truth and legacy of colonial actions such as the Indian Residential School System. Understanding the reasons why these actions took place, the magnitude of destruction they have caused, and the colonial barriers that continue today allows us to know how to move forward together, as a community and as a society.  

Join me in taking a moment to reflect on the children who attended St. Mary’s Residential School in Kenora and their families. I encourage you to deepen your understanding of Indian Residential Schools and the lasting and continuous impact it has left on Indigenous peoples and communities.  

Our Office of Indigenous Relations is prepared to help support the healing process and the overall mental health and well-being of the Indigenous campus community. Please contact them here. 

For supports and resources on the Indian Residential School System: 

For former Indian Residential School students and their families - The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line, toll-free - 1’866 -925-4419  

For First Nations, Inuit and Métis people - Hope for Wellness, toll-free - 1’855 -242-3310 or chat online at hopeforwellness.ca  

Office of Indigenous Relations resource page on the Indian Residential School System - https://uwaterloo.ca/indigenous/engagement-knowledge-building/resources-allyship/indian-residential-school-system   

To learn about the Indian Residential School System and the legacy it has created please visit https://nctr.ca/education/teaching-resources/residential-school-history