Kim Murray - Recovering the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials
Tansi Nîtôtemtik/Negha Dagondih,
Today’s post will preface the 2022 Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA) guest speaker Kim Murray. If you have not yet signed up for the Speaker Series, or want to just attend Kim Murray’s talk, you might still be able to here.
To give you dear reader an idea of what to expect from today’s speaker, this is what is said in Kim’s event description:
“Kimberly Murray is Mohawk of Kanehsatake. She is the Province of Ontario’s first ever Assistant Deputy Attorney General for Aboriginal Justice and has been in this role since April 1, 2015.
Prior to this position, Murray was the Executive Director of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, where she worked to ensure that the stories of survivors of Canada’s Indian Residential School system were heard and remembered; and she promoted reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. From 1995 to 2010, Murray was a staff lawyer and then Executive Director of Aboriginal Legal Services in Toronto (ALST). She has appeared before the Ontario Court of Appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada on Aboriginal legal issues. She has acted as counsel or co-counsel on numerous Coroner [inquiries], instructed counsel for ALST at the Ipperwash inquiry, and was co-counsel for ALST at the Goudge inquiry and the Frank Paul inquiry in British Columbia.
[Kim Murray was] also an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School where she co-facilitated the Aboriginal Land Resource and Governance Intensive program. Recently, the Indigenous Bar Association granted Kimberly Murray the Indigenous Peoples Counsel (IPC) designation.”
In a video asking what her message is to Indigenous youth, Murray said, “I believe in you.” Then when asked what her advice is for youth to overcome adversity, Murray shared that youth should speak to elders for guidance, stories, and advice. Not only will Murray’s rich career and background educate us on going search for the children who did not make it home from residential schools, but we will also have someone speaking to youth (lots of us are still considered young in the eyes of society) who cares about how future generations will influence and shape law and equity for youth, like the ones who never made it home.
Last summer, Kim Murray was tasked with leading an investigation into deaths at the former Mohawk Institute Residential School, where she made the statements:
“‘I come to this new role with humility and enormous respect for the Survivors and the sacred work ahead,’ she stated, describing her work around missing children and unmarked burials with the TRC as ‘only the beginning.’
‘My commitment to the Survivors and their families is that we will not stop until we find the truth about where the children are.’”
The Mohawk Institute was known as the “mush hole”, which opened in 1828 and closed in 1970, which made it one of the oldest and longest-running residential schools in Canada. Now the site houses a museum, cultural centre, and a place of educational programming. While the function of the site has changed, I am sure we will have the chance to hear of some of Murray’s findings from last summer during the Speaker Series session.
While we can only learn so much about the unmarked graves and burials from one speaker, it will be an honour to listen to Kim Murray today. While the discussion will be heavy to many, it is a burden we must all bear together towards justice. We all must listen, learn, and work towards justice for the little ones who came before us, so we can ensure justice for the children of today and tomorrow.
Until next time,
Team ReconciliAction YEG
 Kim Murray, “Recovering the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials”, (accessed Feb. 26, 2022), ILSA Speaker Series, online: <ilsa2020.wixsite.com> https://ilsa2020.wixsite.com/ilsa/speaker-series-more-information
 Indspire, “Kimberly R. Murray BA, LL.B, IPC”, (2017), Law and Justice (2017), online/video at 00:14-17: <indspire.ca> https://indspire.ca/laureate/kimberly-r-murray/
 Ibid at 00:27-30.
 Dan Taekema, “Former TRC director to oversee investigation at Mohawk Institute residential school”, (Aug. 12, 2021), CBC News, online: <cbc.ca> https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/hamilton/mohawk-institute-residential-school-investigation-1.6139249