Debunking the “Mass Grave Hoax”: A Report on Media Coverage and Residential School Denialism in Canada

October 2023

Reid Gerbrandt, Dr. Sean Carleton

A rock with the message “Every Child Matters” painted on it sits at a memorial outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in Kamloops, B.C., on Thursday, July 15, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.

In the two years since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation’s 2021 announcement about the location of 215 potential unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, a number of priests, pundits, and politicians have downplayed and questioned the validity of the findings. Some have declared the news of potential unmarked graves at many former residential school sites across Canada to be a “huge lie”. Others insist that mainstream media, the federal government, and First Nations have conspired to created a “hoax” by misrepresenting the news of potential unmarked burials sites as a “mass grave” to shock and guilt Canadians into caring about Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation.

Given the growing popularity of the “mass grave hoax” narrative, especially on the far-right in Canada and the United States, and recent calls for Canadians to take responsibility for countering such harmful misinformation, Reid Gerbrandt and Dr. Sean Carleton, assistant professor in history and Indigenous studies at the University of Manitoba, decided to investigate the claims of a media conspiracy and fact-check them against the evidence of what was actually reported in Canada. This report outlines their findings and recommendations.

Debunking the “Mass Grave Hoax”: A Report on Media Coverage and Residential School Denialism in Canada was released in October 2023.

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The Right to Food and Community Gardens in Winnipeg: The Meadowood Victory Garden

June 2021

Laura Funk Fabiana Li

The COVID-19 pandemic caused disruptions in the food system that have sparked interest in growing food in home and community gardens. This research investigated the concept of “Victory Gardens” (food gardens popularized during wartime) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, using the Meadowood Victory Garden in Winnipeg as a case study. The research examined the potential of using the city’s green spaces, water and infrastructure to grow food for urban residents during the pandemic and beyond.