The mistreatment of Indigenous peoples in Canada is a tragic and shameful part of our living history. The discovery of 215 bodies found in the area around the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is once again a reminder of the atrocities and harms families and Survivors have suffered and continue to suffer.
We are profoundly saddened by this discovery, and our thoughts are with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and all Indigenous communities across Canada. We recognize that this news is triggering of trauma for Indigenous peoples across our province, especially those with close personal or family ties to experiences in the residential schools. We stand with Survivors, their families, and communities through their healing journeys.
We have a responsibility to change policies and programs in a concerted effort to address the harm caused by residential schools and actively participate in reconciliation. We are committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities throughout BC, through Indigenous Tourism BC, to understand, support, and implement UNDRIP and Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.
The BC Legislature Canadian flag has been lowered to half-mast until further notice, to honour every child whose life was tragically taken. The peace tower flag at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and flags at all federal buildings have also been lowered to acknowledge the loss of these 215 children. They will remain lowered for 215 hours or nine days, one hour for each child taken.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1 866 925-4419.
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, toll-free from anywhere in BC. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717 or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/
For the BC Provincial Government’s statement, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021PREM0039-001034
For the Canadian Government’s statement, visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/crown-indigenous-relations-northern-affairs/news/2021/05/statement-on-the-discovery-around-kamloops-indian-residential-school.html
* Update: In our original statement, we made reference to a ‘dark chapter in our living history’. This has since been removed, as the impacts of residential schools and intergenerational traumas experienced by Indigenous peoples remain to this day. We sincerely apologise for that reference, and for any further distress we may have caused in what is already a devastating time. We remain committed to learning, understanding, and supporting Indigenous peoples throughout BC, and we thank everyone who reached out to correct us on that error.
Subscribe to our newsletter