Anonymous cemetery Statement from the SAQ following the press conference of the Mohawk Mothers held on May 15, 2024  
The SAQ takes note of the public release of institutionalized orphans from Duplessis and Mohawk Mothers. We are surprised by their comments, given that since the beginning of this matter and over the last 4 months, we have made sure to maintain a constructive dialogue and transparency with the representatives of the two groups.  
Moreover, since last January, we have suspended excavation work relating to the expansion of our automated center, we held 8 meetings with them and we accepted almost all of their requests, such as the presence of their observers in the field so that they are part of the archaeological inventory process.  
It is important to clarify that there have never been any burials on the site targeted by our work. The location of the cemetery and the anonymous cemetery of the Saint-Jean-de-Dieu Hospital was at the time under the current location of our buildings. These were also exhumed twice, in 1960 and 1975.  
In October 2021, this information was also confirmed by a specialized company mandated by the SAQ to carry out a study superimposing geographical and historical maps of our land. These historical details are found in the report that was shared with the two groups.  
The SAQ was sensitive to the concerns of the two groups which were shared with us in January. Not having the in-house expertise to carry out the required analyses, we called on experts and the competent authorities of Quebec to carry out an archaeological inventory.  
Regarding the recommendations of the Canadian Association of Archaeologists, it should be noted that the ACA is not a professional order, but rather an association which brings together archaeologists, amateur archaeologists and members of the general public. We committed to meeting with ACA representatives, which we did, but made no commitment to implement their observations.  
It is important to emphasize that the SAQ has neither the expertise nor the authority to determine the process of archaeological research or analysis of the artifacts found. In these circumstances, the SAQ relies on the competent authorities in this matter in Quebec, namely the Ministry of Culture and Communications of Quebec. It was the Ministry who issued the archaeological research permit to the archaeological consultants Arkéos, specifying the research methods.  
Regarding the use of tracking dogs, we have asked the competent authorities for evaluation. Their conclusions state that this type of method is not appropriate for our site.  
The bones and bone fragments found during the archaeological inventory were analyzed by archaeological experts, two independent bioarchaeologists, as well as by a zooarchaeologist. They conclude that the bones and bone fragments found on our site are of animal origin. These analyses, combined with the study of historical data, allow experts to assert with confidence that the bone remains found are of animal origin. They therefore confirm that there is no issue with the resumption of SAQ activities on this portion of the land.  
That said, we remain sensitive to what these two groups have experienced. This is why we are committed to recognizing this chapter of history on our property, at the end of our expansion work, by working jointly with them to determine the form that this commemorative space will take.  

Read the full Arkeos report here