For many in our sector, including staff, residents and board members, the news that a grounds survey at the former Kamloops Residential School has uncovered the remains of 215 children will continue to trigger the past and current trauma of colonization. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has opened its support lines to provide counselling services 24/7. Please share this information within your organization so people know how to access support if they need it: in the Lower Mainland call 604-985-4464; toll free across the province call 1-800-721-0066; or visit https://www.irsss.ca/.
The discovery confirms what many in the community had long known; the Nation has been working for years to bring these children home. You can read the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation’s full statement here.
These events are not just a dark chapter in our history. The last residential school closed in Canada in 1996. This is not only our history, it is our present. There are many resources available if you would like to learn more about residential schools in Canada.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission published its final report in December, 2015. Of the 94 Calls to Action issued by the Commission, only eight have been implemented.
You can find the full TRC report and the calls to action here and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s National Student Memorial Register, which honours the children who did not return from residential school, here.
The Yellowhead Institute provides accountability reports on the calls to action: https://yellowheadinstitute.org/trc/.
Former Senator Murray Sinclair’s call to action for the housing sector came at the Housing Central Conference in 2019. He called on us to educate ourselves about the impacts of the residential school system and their descendants who have had their lives shaped by inter-generational trauma, and to commit to reconciliation.
We extend our support to those who have grieved, and continue to grieve these injustices. We are committed to our role in decolonization.