A memorial of children’s shoes in front of The Healing of the Seven Generations building on Frederick Street serves as a reminder of the remains of 215 children found in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last week, uncovered by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation’s investigation. We recognize that local Indigenous communities are mourning this loss and are impacted by the ongoing harm of colonization and intergenerational trauma.
With 139 residential schools attended by 150,000 children between the late 1800s and 1996, this is likely not an isolated discovery.
As an agency that serves children, families and individuals across Waterloo Region, we acknowledge that Indigenous people face systemic racism and barriers to accessing services. We are committed to our own learning, and building trust with local Indigenous agencies, including Healing of the Seven Generations.
If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
Here are some resources to help you learn more and take action:
- Learn more about the recent discovery of 215 children’s remains, and the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation’s ongoing investigations at the site.
- Attend the vigil on Thursday, June 3rd at 7:00 pm (tonight) in Victoria Park by the Clock Tower – Honouring Every Child: Vigil for 215 Babies
- Read the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada and make a plan of how you can act on some of the calls http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
- Read the names of the children who were known to have died at Residential School. The common consensus at this time is that the 215 are not on this list of over 4,000 children. https://memorial.nctr.ca/?page_id=372
- Get to know and support local Indigenous organizations, including:
- Educate yourself about the land you live and work on, and the people who your land belongs to. https://native-land.ca/
- Learn about Cindy Blackstock, a member of the Gitksan First Nation of British Columbia, and her work to change the discriminatory policies and actions towards First Nations children in Canada. https://www.ashoka.org/en-ca/fellow/cindy-blackstock
- Support Indigenous peoples’ calls for the Canadian government and churches to fund a full investigation into children who went missing or died at residential schools. This is one of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.