On May 27, the remains of 215 children were uncovered in a mass grave on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
Between the 1830s and 1990s, approximately 150,000 Indigenous children in Canada were forcibly removed from their families and sent away to residential schools where they were stripped of their traditional languages, clothing, and culture and where they endured frequent violence and abuse; it is estimated that 6,000 children died in residential schools. The last federally funded school closed in 1996, only 25 years ago.
“Residential schooling was always more than simply an educational program: it was an integral part of a conscious policy of cultural genocide.” – Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2015
We share in the grief of this most recent discovery; and we acknowledge that this grief is unequally carried by those directly targeted by the historical and ongoing violence against them as Indigenous communities across Turtle Island continue to experience intergenerational trauma from these experiences at the hands of Canada’s governments and church officials.
At Coady Institute and StFX Extension, we join in the call for all levels of government and Canadian citizens to honour and act on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and calls-to-action.
Here on the campus of StFX University, our flags have been lowered to half-mast. They will remain lowered for 215 hours in honour of each of the 215 children most recently found.
If you or someone you know requires support during this time, please reach out to available resources such as:
Indian Residential School Survivor Society (IRSSS)
1 (800) 721-0066
24hr Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419