Solemn ceremony

Published January 1, 2007

David Ashdown, bishop of the diocese of Keewatin, presided for the second time last fall at a rite of solemn re-internment of century-old human remains at Chipiy Naya, Split Lake, Man.

In the fall of 2005, high floodwaters inundated portions of the peninsula and eroded human remains that had been buried along the banks. After a series of meetings, the community asked Bishop Ashdown to search for records of burials on the Chipiy Naya (Ghost Point). The Tataskweyak Cree Nation also requested archaeologist Virginia Petch of Northern Lights Heritage Services to conduct a scientific survey of the site.

Diocesan archives found records of at least 64 burials at the site prior to 1906, and during a visit by Bishop Ashdown to the community in January the names of the deceased were read in a public meeting. The release of the names has made it possible for those currently living in the community to identify relatives buried in the sacred site.

Meanwhile, following a meeting with Anglican church leaders, Robert Brennan, president and chief executive officer of Manitoba Hydro, pledged restoration work to preserve Chipiy Naya and prevent any similar incidents in the future.

The old cemetery will be consecrated as a permanent memorial in the summer of 2008.


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