Church in Manitoba wants to search for unmarked graves at former residential school

At least one resident says church shouldn’t be involved in the search

The grounds around a complex in Dauphin, Man., which is currently owned by the Church of Christ and is the former MacKay Indian Residential School, will soon be searched for unmarked graves.

The Church of Christ says it’s hiring a private firm to conduct the search.

“We need to do this right. There are so many questions we have and we want to make sure we do it the right way,” said Jamie Harvey, the church director on the site.

MacKay residential school was owned and operated in the 1960s by the Anglican Church and eventually the federal government.

Since then, it has been a university, and after the Church of Christ purchased it 13 years ago it has turned into a housing complex, food bank, and other various services.

Harvey said plans to extend the housing complex on the front grounds, and has contacted a private engineering firm in Winnipeg to look search the area.

“We need to be 100 per cent certain that there is nothing being hidden by that front lawn space,” said Harvey.

But Okiimaawuk Abin who lives near the school says the church shouldn’t be involved in searching for the graves.

“I don’t have trust in leaving this up to any corporate government structure or churches to be in control of where this leads to,” said Abin.

Harvey said he has contacted the Treaty 2 government office and former McKay Residential School Survivors.

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