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'Sacred work': Sask. First Nation learning how to conduct its own underground searches


Members of Piapot First Nation, students from the University of Winnipeg and various other professionals are learning new techniques that will hopefully be used for ground searches of potential unmarked grave sites in the future.

A new company “Kā-natonahkik-tāpwēwin,” which in the Cree language translates to “In search of the truth,” is leading the training. The company known as KNT IRS Consulting for short, is an Indigenous owned, on-reserve company.

The company specializes in ground searches associated with unmarked graves and the Indian residential school system (IRS).

They hope to teach other Indigenous communities how to conduct searches with the necessary technologies, while at the same time keeping the objective Indigenous focused.

“At the end of the day that is our goal. To find the truth of the atrocities of the past, and to change the narrative from a negative to a positive across Canada,” said Nadine Obey, the CEO of KNT IRS Consulting.

The group is currently together for two weeks. They are camping together and ingesting a wide range of Information.

There is a large crossover of Indigenous and western ways of knowing, which organizers say must happen for successful searches in the future.

“These students have been fully immersed. Understanding, taking lectures on not only equipment, but also the affects of the IRS system. Talking to survivors, praying together, having cultural events because this work cannot be done in a bubble,” Dr. Tina Greenfield from the University of Winnipeg said.

Obey hopes communities see the importance of doing the work themselves.

“We would like to have our own people, our own communities be the ones to do the sacred work. To be in their own graveyards, their own sites, finding their ancestors. With proper ethic and respecting the sites,” Obey said.

When finished, students will receive six credits which will go towards their education and Piapot members will be awarded a certificate.

There are plans for future courses which will building upon the learning exercise. Top Stories

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