RCMP investigates decades-old complaint at Timber Bay School in La Ronge

·2 min read
RCMP have confirmed they are investigating a historical complaint regarding the Timber Bay School.  (Submitted by RCMP - image credit)
RCMP have confirmed they are investigating a historical complaint regarding the Timber Bay School. (Submitted by RCMP - image credit)

WARNING: This story contains distressing details.

Saskatchewan RCMP have confirmed they have an open investigation into a former school for children located in northern Saskatchewan.

The RCMP confirmed that their historical unit is investigating a complaint related to the Timber Bay School, located in La Ronge. Someone came forward to launch a historical complaint that dates back decades, the RCMP said.

"I can't imagine how difficult it must be for someone to come forward and speak with police after so much time has passed," said Supt. Vince Foy, the officer in charge of the Saskatchewan RCMP's major crime unit, in a press release.

The RCMP says their investigation will involve speaking with multiple individuals across several communities.

Investigators will listen to those who come forward and follow up with any information they receive

As the investigation is in its early stages, RCMP say they can't provide any further details about the complaint.

Disputed status of school

The Timber Bay School is not officially recognized as a residential school, although that is heavily disputed by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB).

The LLRIB fought for years in court to have the Timber Bay School recognized as a residential school and secure compensation for the students who attended the institution.

WATCH | Oral history, limited records shed light on unmarked graves on Sask. First Nation:

In 2017, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled that while Timber Bay housed students who attended schools elsewhere, it wasn't directly government-run and was not eligible for residential school status.

The Supreme Court of Canada chose not to hear the LLRIB's appeal.

The school was operated by the Northern Canada Evangelical Mission between 1952 and 1994, and students were drawn from the LLIRB and across northern Saskatchewan.

Investigation in Manitoba

The confirmation of the investigation into the historic complaint comes shortly after Manitoba RCMP revealed they have been investigating allegations of sexual abuse at a former residential school in Sagkeeng First Nation for more than a decade.

Investigators began looking into allegations of sexual abuse at the the Fort Alexander Residential School, located about 120 km north of Winnipeg, in February 2010.

The Mounties launched a formal criminal investigation a year later.

The investigation, which involved more than 80 RCMP officers speaking with more than 700 people, resulted in the police force forwarding its findings to the Manitoba Prosecution Service to review and determine whether charges are warranted.

No charges have been laid as of Tuesday.

Support is available for anyone affected by the effects of residential school and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and others affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Do you have information about unmarked graves, children who never came home or residential school staff and operations? Email your tips to CBC's new Indigenous-led team investigating residential schools: WhereAreThey@cbc.ca.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting