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The elected chief of Six Nations of the Grand River says the search for unmarked graves at the former site of a residential school in southwestern Ontario should be treated as a criminal investigation.

Chief Mark Hill issued the call on Wednesday along with survivors of the Mohawk Institute Indian Residential School in Brantford, Ont.

He says the First Nation is urging police forces to collaborate with the community on the effort.

Hill says 54 deaths were recorded at the former residential school but the graves of those individuals are unknown.

He says Six Nations will provide $1-million to support the creation of a survivor secretariat that will help with the search effort.

The investment will be used until previously announced funding from the provincial and federal governments is obtained.

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