Brantford, ON

Project Status: Closed
Project Needs: Various work projects on site of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School in Brantford include refurbishing an indigenous “longhouse”, building period wooden school desks, cafeteria tables and benches, and moving the school library back into the renovated residential school
What Happened:

In response to Canada’s Truth & Reconciliations Commission and the invitation for churches to engage in reconciliation of past wrong, MDS is partnering with Woodlands Cultural Centre and Mennonite Central Committee Ontario in their Save the Evidence campaign to respond to the human and social disaster of the Canadian Residential School System.

MDS will be assisting in restoring parts of the Residential School in Brantford, which operated for 142 years from 1828-1970. The school building had to be evacuated in 2013 due to a wind storm, damaging the roof and uncovering significant structural issues in the original construction. This former residential school is being turned into a memorial to preserve its dark history. This project is not only focused on the restoration of a building and its contents, but also about learning the indigenous culture that the “settlers” had intentionally tried to destroy over many decades, of which the residential school system was part of, and the history of the Six Nations of that region. 

What MDS Is Doing:

Along with the projects listed above, MDS Volunteers will be assisting with a registered archeological dig on site for artifacts as part of the Save the Evidence Campaign. Volunteers are staying at the Expositor Place in Brantford (part of the Wilfrid Laurier University campus) and using the kitchen facilities at the Shenstone Memorial Baptist Church. The learning component is a large part of this project. 

Read recent weekly reports here and scroll down to view photos from the project.