P.E.I. MLA looking for 'clarity and transparency' on Shubenacadie residential school

The P.E.I. Legislature’s standing committee on health will delve into the issue of residential schools, following a request by Liberal MLA Robert Henderson.

Most Indigenous children from P.E.I. sent to residential school would have gone to Shubenacadie

The Shubenacadie residential school operated from 1929 to 1967. (CBC)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

The P.E.I. Legislature's standing committee on health will delve into the issue of residential schools, following a request by Robert Henderson, the Liberal MLA for O'Leary-Inverness, which includes Lennox Island.

"I've got constituents that are hurting. They're puzzled. They want some clarity and transparency," said Henderson.

"I understand that that's difficult when you're going back to the timelines that we're dealing [with]. That's somewhat in the past. But the fact [that] I still have constituents that attended residential schools says that it's still pretty fresh in people's minds. And I think that we have to play what roles we can within our jurisdiction to provide that clarity and provide some answers."

Most, if not all, of P.E.I.'s Indigenous children sent to residential schools would have gone to Shubenacadie in Nova Scotia, so any investigation done by P.E.I. would have to be in collaboration with authorities there.

The fate of Indigenous children at Canada's residential schools is coming under new scrutiny after the discovery of the unmarked graves of an estimated 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

A similar search is underway at the Shubenacadie school site, but no graves have been found yet.

Henderson said he would like to hear from the Indigenous secretariat in the premier's office, and consult with the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. and L'nuey about how best to hear from the Indigenous community.

Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Kerry Campbell