Statement on Kamloops Residential School death of 215 Indigenous children

We extend our deepest condolences and stand in solidarity with the families, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, residential school survivors and Indigenous communities across Canada. This legacy of residential schools haunts all of us in this country and we must stand together to address these wrongs that continue to cause trauma and suffering.  We must face this truth in order to begin a reconciliation journey of healing.

We are deeply impacted by the gruesome discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School.  We mourn the horrifying loss of 215 children who had been stolen from their families by the State. We are struggling with how to respond to this national tragedy.

As an organization we continue to look at how we can decolonize and be inclusive.  In 2017 we completed “A Journey to ReconciliAction: Calls to Action Report” after examining our policies, practices and procedures through the lens of the TRC Report. It is our guide and part of our commitment to First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.

We urge all organizations, institutions and governments to implement the Calls to Action as well as the Calls to Justice from the MMIWG Inquiry. We call upon the provincial and federal governments to support the full investigation of all residential school sites for unmarked graves. We call upon the Catholic Church to take responsibility for its role in the operation of schools and the criminal acts that were perpetuated against innocent children in their care.

Locally, we urge you to support the preservation of the “Mush Hole”, the former Mohawk Institute Residential School in Brantford now operated as part of the Woodland Cultural Centre. There has been an attempt by the Canadian Government to destroy all the evidence of Residential Schools.    “Save the Evidence” is a campaign to raise awareness and support for the restoration of the former Residential School, and to develop the building into an Interpreted Historic Site and Educational Resource. We have made a contribution and urge you to do the same if able. It is a concrete way to support Indigenous (First Nations, Metis and Inuit) peoples and contribute to both truth and reconciliation.