"News of the discovery prompted grief, anger and calls to action across the country. In Vancouver, hundreds of shoes were placed on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery as a memorial. Similar gestures were done in Yellowknife, Regina and Toronto, as well as in other cities." Image Source: (Ben Nelms/CBC)
"Today we honour the lives of those children, and hold prayers that they, and their families, may finally be at peace." - Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs (UBCIC).
Please note: this post contains distressing information. A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
A survey at the location of the former Kamloops residential school has uncovered the remains of 215 children, as reported by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. A statement released by Chief Rosanne Casimir noted that these missing children were previously undocumented.
Today, we are grieving with the individuals and families who have been and continue to be impacted by the intergenerational trauma caused by the genocide facilitated through Canada’s residential school system.
The historical and ongoing impacts of the residential school system are well known to our organization, affecting the individuals and families we serve at each and every one of our programs and locations.
"That this situation exists is sadly not a surprise and illustrates the damaging and lasting impacts that the residential school system continues to have on First Nations people, their families and communities,''
- Richard Jock, CEO of First Nations Health Authority.
To honour the 215 children, the flags outside of our downtown Community Centre location have been lowered to half-mast. In order to best support our clients and staff, our Cultural Supports team will be providing space for community members to grieve privately, and our Children and Family programming will be working with Elders to provide support for clients and staff throughout the week.
We remain steadfast in our pursuit of justice for all. The collective outrage that we feel about this heinous discovery only emphasizes the importance of supporting and empowering our community members affected by residential schools as we work to end chronic homelessness.
Moving Forward Together, Reconciliation Canada:
Reconciliation Canada is hosting a gathering on Zoom to honour the 215 children. On Tuesday, June 1st at 9 AM PST (10 AM MST): “Moving Forward Together” can be accessed: https://zoom.us/j/99892409581
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: http://www.trc.ca/