We are deeply saddened by the tragic discovery of 215 children who died at Kamloops Indian Residential School. We extend our deepest condolences to the affected families, communities, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and all residential and day school survivors.
This discovery reconfirms the devastating impacts of the Indian Residential School system on Indigenous families and communities across Canada. In honour of these children and those who have not been found, we call on Canadians to commit to listening, learning, and unlearning. Indigenous families and communities have long borne the burden of the residential school system alone, courageously speaking out about the trauma this system caused and working to identify those who did not survive. We have a responsibility as non-Indigenous people to increase our own understanding and help dismantle the legacy of colonialism.
Now is the time for us as individuals, as organizations, and as a network to recognize the ongoing racism against Indigenous Peoples across Canada and commit to continuing our learning. We encourage you to explore these resources on your continued learning journey:
- Listen to this interview by Chief Dr. Robert Joseph as he describes the effect the discovery in Kamloops has had on his community, and what Canadians should do next on the path to healing.
- Read or re-read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report and calls to action.
- Read the National Student Memorial Register, which was created to remember and honour the children who never returned home from residential schools.
For those in need of support:
- A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
- The Indian Residential School Survivors Society offers a crisis line for grief, crisis, and trauma counselling: 1-800-721-0066.
- Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 1-800-588-8717.