In response to the discoveries of unmarked, mass graves in Canada, Bishop Walter A. Hurley, Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Gaylord, has released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the ongoing discoveries of unmarked, mass graves in Canada on or near the sites of former Indigenous residential schools. We mourn with those who are grieving, and we continue to pray for them in this time of sorrow.
“In our own diocesan history, an Indigenous residential school, Holy Childhood of Jesus, was operational in Harbor Springs from 1829 to 1983. We are aware of painful events that have unfolded at this school, including when construction of the city street disturbed unmarked graves in its earliest years in the 1890s. In an ongoing effort to show proper care and respect for the dead, matters relating to the parish’s graveyard have since been handled in close collaboration with the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, particularly during an extensive renovation to the church in the late 1990s and from that time onward.
“This relationship will remain and continue to be pursued moving forward, as it is of solemn concern that we properly care for our deceased brothers and sisters. We desire to have open dialogue and conversation with tribal members regarding these significant matters, and look forward to any meetings in the future in that regard.”