Holy Angels

Fort Chipewyan
Truth Scanning Project

The Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project is a partnership between the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation and Fort Chipewyan Métis.

Working with the Canadian Association of Archaeology, we will undertake extensive ground scanning at the site of the Holy Angels Indian Residential School, which operated between 1874 and 1974, to identify the unmarked graves of our children.

We gather strength from those Nations which have gone through the process before us and we encourage our members to find courage in community.

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Truth sharing

Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project-image

“To bring closure, the truth has to be exposed.”

Grand Chief Arthur Noskey

Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project-image

“It taught me to be numb, it taught me to be angry and it taught me to be aggressive. So those were the skills I used later in life.”

Raymond Cardinal

Sixties Scoop and Holy Angels Survivor

Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project-image

“They believed our ways, our ceremonies, our drums and our spirituality was witchcraft. And they tried to stamp it out.”

Alice Martin

Second generation Holy Angels Survivor

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“My Dad wasn't taught how to love his kids so, as a teenager, I turned to alcohol and looked for attention in all the wrong places. I would wake up in jail. I had no purpose. It took a long time straighten my life out.”

Darren Mercredi

Son of Holy Angels Survivor

Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project-image

“To survive the system we had to look out for ourselves, but to heal and move forward we have to look out for each other. We need to help our communities and find strength there.”

Lawrence Courteoreille

Holy Angels Survivor

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“It breaks us as children to see what our parents had to endure.”

Councillor Lydia Courteoreille

Daughter of Holy Angels Survivors

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“When I shared my story with my kids, they finally understood why they were raised the way they were raised. I have never shared my story with anyone else.”

Marina Stewart

Holy Angels Survivor

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“There is something soothing about hearing our Cree language. It always brings me back to when I was a boy, sat around a campfire, listening to my grandparents telling stories. And there is healing in that.”

Dennis Fraser

Director, Indigenous and Rural Relations at the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

Fort Chipewyan Truth Scanning Project-image

“When I was 5 years old, the nuns told me my mother and father didn't love me and that's why they had to look after me. They were wrong. It was all lies.”

Raymond Tuccaro

Holy Angels Survivor

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“I'm going to be 72 this year and I just want to be free of this pain. I don't want to live the last years of my life with this pain inside me.”

Lorne Antoine

Holy Angels Survivor

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“When I was 26, the Creator told me that the alcohol I used to deaden my feelings would kill me if I didn't stop. I'm 69 now. I found a program that worked for me and I'm proud of who I am.”

Elise Coates

Holy Angels Survivor

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“On days when the temperature was fifty-below, they would send us outside and we would huddle in a circle so we wouldn't freeze. The little ones would always cry, so we would put them in the middle.”

Darren Mercredi

Son of Holy Angels Survivor

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Words from our leaders

Chief Allan Adam-photo
Chief Allan Adam

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

“As a residential school survivor myself, I understand the pain.”

“As a residential school survivor myself, I understand the pain which lives within our community. Decades of trauma, often ignored and untreated, has and continues to tear individuals and families apart. This project marks a turning point in that cycle. We will uncover and face the truth together, we will demand acknowledgment and dignity for our children and we will move forward and heal as a community.”

Chief Allan Adam-company-logo
Chief Peter Powder-photo
Chief Peter Powder

Mikisew Cree First Nation

“Now is the time to come together, to hold each other up”

“Now is the time to come together, to hold each other up. Our survivors need us, they need their families and friends and they need their community. We all have a role to play in this process. Check in on those you know who might be vulnerable right now. Be kind, listen and do what you can to help.”

Chief Peter Powder-company-logo
Kendrick Cardinal-photo
Kendrick Cardinal

President, Fort Chipewyan Métis

“We will emerge from this process stronger, I am certain of that”

“We will emerge from this process stronger, I am certain of that. We will come through it more connected to our Elders and our families and with renewed bonds between our Nations. We will be better able to process the past and that will make us more ready for the future. This project will be the hardest thing we have ever faced as a community but I believe the strength we will gain from it will carry us forward to better days.”

Kendrick Cardinal-company-logo