When is enough, enough? Do people have such short memories, or are there political considerations in play? These questions feed into the recent request by the Elected Chief of the Six Nations of the Grand River for funding from the Federal Government to conduct more searches of the grounds surrounding the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School operated by the Anglican Church, upon request of the Hereditary Chiefs and Clan Mothers, from 1839 to 1970.
Ever since the announcement ("preliminary report") of the apparent finding of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia, there have been calls for the investigation of the grounds of all former residential schools across Canada (plus apologies from the Catholic Church and the Pope, plus a myriad of other "demands") following this finding. Alas, the find has only been detected via ground penetrating radar (GPR) which is relatively crude technology and can not see human remains directly, only blips on the screen that might be interpreted as possible remains - but nothing at all can be confirmed until an archaeologist and forensic anthropologist excavate and locate physical remains that can be analyzed. For example, if they are human remains, are they from a First Nations group or European? If the latter then this could be one of the many unmarked pioneer burial sites across Canada. It is all unknown until further work is done, and it was, to say the least, premature to make an announcement that would send shock waves across Canada and the world that involved so little tangible evidence.
Therefore, based on an incomplete finding, to ask for money and apologies is unacceptable. For the Six Nations to do this is even more "questionable". As reported in the Spectator here, Chief Hill is asking for Federal Government "support" in searching the grounds at the former residential school. Most seem to have forgotten the 2008 - 2013 hoax perpetrated by a defrocked United Church Minister who claimed he had located human remains on the school grounds and convinced the Hereditary Chiefs to search the grounds for the remains of the children who died at the school. The hoaxer, K.A., is well known for perpetrating similar extravagances, as seen here. He claimed, for example, that Queen Elizabeth took 10 children from the Kamloops Indian Residential School for a picnic in 1964 and they were never seen again. Despite the sheer absurdity of this claim, and the fact that the Queen was not in Kamloops in 1964, he pressed on with further unsupported allegations. So work at Brantford went ahead despite the reputation of the person "leading the charge" being a known conspiracy theorist.
The "process" involving both GPR and archaeological excavation is described in detail here by the hoaxer himself, whose background and reputation has been documented here. Of all the wild allegations made by this individual the one that is most personally troubling is that a Clan Mother, J.L., well respected across Six Nations territory, and by the present author, is a "government operative" because she dared stand up for the truth and not support the wild conspiracy theory (which got more and more bizarre over time). A fact check agency even delved into the matter when in 2017 a picture of 33 children, said to be from the Mohawk Institute, was published along with the statement that all of them "had been shot" in 1943 since there was no room at the school. As seen here, the researcher was quickly able to establish that the picture was from a school in British Columbia and that there was not a shred of evidence about any mass murder. He then explored the facts relating to the previous excavations, and the other work done by reputable individuals showing that there was no documented or legitimate oral evidence of any mysterious deaths and disappearances at the school. However this is a matter that simply won't die. The present author has located the burial records for the school (those that survived a fire at the home of Cannon Zimmerman, on the grounds of the school). The children who died at school and whose bodies were not claimed by parents for burial elsewhere, all appear to have taken place in the Cemetery at St. Paul's Anglican Church across the road from the school.
Even those at the Woodland Cultural Center acknowledge that considerable work has already been done at the Mohawk Institute (called by some the "Mush Hole") in above Spectator article. Specifically, “There have been acreages of the property that have been investigated. Nothing has been found,” Janis Montour said in a May 31 interview with The Spectator. “But there’s still acreage behind the building that still need to be looked at.” The area behind the school was part of the large agricultural property (ploughed) which has been used since day one to train boys in “agricultural pursuits”. It would be highly unlikely to find any remains in this location.
Update: In an unfathomable move, Elected Chief of Six Nations is requesting / demanding $10 million of the $27 million allotted for searching the grounds of former residential schools across Canada (see here). He seems to forget, or not care, that already, between 2008 and 2013, the grounds outside the Mohawk Institute have been extensively searched by both ground penetrating radar and archaeological excavation - as noted above. How can this demand possibly be justified? Many of the former schools in the Western Provinces have a much more tangible claim that they should be given priority in such a venture. Is this simply greed and a money grab?
NOTE: There is a considerable amount of information on the Mohawk Institute in this blog, and the details can be accessed here.