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Survivors’ Secretariat Appoints Associate Dean Beverly Jacobs as Indigenous Human Rights Monitor

Dr. Beverly Jacobs

In September, the Survivors’ Secretariat - an organization that organizes and supports efforts to discover, document, and share the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute during its 136 years of operation - announced that Associate Dean (Academic) Beverly Jacobs has agreed to take on the role of Indigenous Human Rights Monitor for the Mohawk Institute Survivors’ Secretariat. Given the long and documented history of the failures of the justice system, in particular the death investigation system as it relates to the deaths of Indigenous people, the Survivors’ Secretariat wishes to appoint an Indigenous Human Rights Monitor to monitor, verify and report back to the Survivors on the work of the Multi-Jurisdictional Police Task Force’s investigation.

The Objectives of the Indigenous Human Rights Monitor are to ensure that integrity, fairness, transparency and accountability are upheld throughout the Task Force’s investigation by:

a) Ensuring that Haudenosaunee Legal Principles are applied and respected;

b) Ensuring that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Updated Set of Principles for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights Through Action to Combat Impunity are adhered to;

c) Ensuring that the Ontario Victims’ Bill of Rights and the Joinet-Orentlicher Principles of the right to know, the right to justice and the right to non-recurrence, are followed; and

d) Assisting in building Survivors’ and community trust and confidence in the Task Force’s investigation.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Jacobs as the Indigenous Human Rights Monitor,” said Kimberly Murray, Executive Lead for the Survivors’ Secretariat. “Her integrity, professional accomplishments, and commitment to Indigenous justice is integral to the Secretariat’s mandate of sharing the truth about what happened at the Mohawk Institute — the longest operating residential school in Canada.”

“I am truly honoured to accept this role and that the Survivors’ Group has confidence in me to do this work,” said Dr. Jacobs. “The Secretariat’s model of Survivor-led, trauma-informed investigation and community reporting is an essential step towards recovery, reclamation and healing for Survivors and families of the Mohawk Institute as well as for all Indigenous peoples in Canada. This is just the beginning to address the insidious legacy of residential schools in this country.”

“Our Human Rights were not protected when we were forced to attend the Mohawk Institute. It is clear to us that proper and full death investigations were not conducted in relation to the deaths of children at the Mohawk Institute during the years it was in operation. We are confident that with Dr. Jacobs’ monitoring of the Task Force’s Investigation, it will be conducted with greater fairness, integrity and transparency and that our Human Rights will be protected,” said Roberta Hill, Survivor of the Mohawk Institute.