PRINCE ALBERT -- People from 13 First Nations were represented at a gathering of residential school survivors at the site of the St. Michael's Residential School south of Duck Lake.

FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron came to gain knowledge and direction from residential school survivors.

“As elected leaders we must take direction on this from them. It’s them who will drive this process as they are the experts,” said Cameron.

Cameron said he would echo their calls for action to the federal minister of Indigenous Affairs Marc Miller at a meeting in Saskatoon on Aug. 5.

One of the recommendations to come out of the gathering was to build a cultural teaching centre and healing lodge at the site.

Cameron said he will ask that the government intervene to stop churches and government from destroying records left over from the residential school era.

Beardy’s Okemasis First Nation has hired a representative to study material at the Glenbow Museum in Calgary to gain more insight into the school. They are considering funding options for a ground penetrating radar survey in the area.

The idea for the five-day retreat and ceremony was born out of the Every Child Matters campaign and in respect for the 215 human remains discovered at a residential school site near Kamploops, B.C.

A small memorial of shoes and teddy bears were placed at the St. Michael's site. From Aug. 2-6 the memorial will be surrounded by tipis and campsites for the retreat participants.

“We want to create that awareness and education about who we are as a nation and where we’re going,” said Delano Mike, a member of the Beardy’s Okemasis First Nation leadership team and event organizer.

“We’re all affected as a nation. Whether it’s directly as a survivor or indirectly meaning that if you did not attend a residential school you are affected through intergenerational trauma. So that’s why we have an open dialogue,” said Mike.