Grand Chief Konrad Sioui of the Huron-Wendat Nation has declared the disturbance of a burial ground and the remains of Huron-Wendat ancestors at Barrie’s Allandale Station construction site “unacceptable”.
He calls on authorities to take immediate steps “to address these serious breaches and find satisfactory solutions in these circumstances, in accordance with their obligations to the Nation and in respect for the Huron-Wendat ancestors.”
Sioui’s concerns come in response to an APTN story about the remains being “dug up, disturbed, and entirely desecrated, likely with the knowledge of certain municipal and government authorities” as they build an extension of its GO Transit commuter system. Sioui calls for an independent investigation to be urgently set up in order to shed light on the issue.
"We deeply lament this immense desecration of our ancestors. The Allandale Station site and the burial grounds that are found there are sacred and must be protected,” reads a press statement.
“Huron-Wendat human remains must never be disturbed, under any circumstances. The Huron-Wendat Nation reminds the concerned authorities that they have legal obligations, including constitutional duties to our Nation, which have been completely ignored. These transgressions must be corrected. We are outraged to see that this situation seems to have gone on for years, all without our knowledge.
Both in the Wendake North (the Nionwentsïo, including the Saint Lawrence Valley in Quebec), in the Wendake South (the Great Lakes of Ontario, Erie and Huron), we have been faced with many situations where the remains of our ancestors have been unearthed, examined, studied, unilaterally appropriated or simply disposed of like garbage.
As in all such cases, this situation is unacceptable to us," said Sioui.
In June 2015, the Huron-Wendat Nation's band council adopted a resolution to establish a clear position regarding the protection and preservation of its ancestral heritage.
"We will continue to fight for the protection of our history and against the destruction of our heritage and ancestors both in Quebec and in Ontario. These are our ancestors and we will take all the necessary measures to restore their dignity so that they may rest in peace," said the grand chief.