Work with Penelakut Tribe

UBC has been assisting Penelakut Tribe in its search for children missing from the Kuper Island Industrial School since 2014.

This work has been led by Andrew Martindale and includes Eric Simons and Alison Wylie. On August 2, 2021, Penelakut hosted the Spune'luxutth' Sulxwe'en Memorial Walk in memory of lost children at Kuper Island Industrial School and all other residential school institutions across Canada, at which this work was noted.

For more information about the Penelakut community's work in the search for missing children and in addressing the legacy of this institution and other forms of colonial violence, please:


A Note about the Office of the Independent special Interlocutor's (OSI) Interim Report (June 2023)

The special interlocutor (Kimberly Murray) released an interim report on the work of locating children who disappeared from Indian Residential Schools (IRS) in June 2023: Interim-Report_ENG_WEB_July11.pdf ( On page 79, the report references a news item that states that the Penelakut, “disclosed to neighbouring First Nations that more than 160 unmarked graves were found on the grounds of the former residential school." This is an error of the news item, that is replicated in the report. 

The Penelakut have not made any public statements on the number of children's graves found, only that they have been found and work continues. The number being referred to comes from a document cited in Alex Maass' PhD thesis (2018, Southampton, page 149) in which this document is cited: "Kuper Island IRS Cemetery Background Report", an unpublished report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that identifies 167 student deaths at Kuper. The Penelakut do not have a copy of this report. The NCTR currently lists 121 student deaths on its memorial register.

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