Our hearts go out to the grieving families and communities of the 215 children from theTk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation whose remains were found in an unmarked burial site near a former residential school in Kamloops. We stand with the First Nations people and recognize this as part of a genocide that continues today.
Although this discovery may have been shocking and unimaginable to some of us, residential school survivors and their families have been speaking out for years about the thousands of children who never came home, many of whom were known to have died or been killed by those who were supposed to care for them. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission highlighted many of these atrocities in their report released in 2015 and made several Calls for Action on Missing Children and Burial Information which have yet to be completed. We urge the federal government to act now on these recommendations to ensure that these deaths are brought to light, that those responsible are held accountable and that these children can be brought home to their communities.
We also urge all levels of government to invest now in the health and well-being of all Indigenous children, youth and adults currently still suffering from our racist policies and practices. We recognize that harm is still being done by our government, our institutions and by those of us who stand by and do nothing. As settler allies, we commit to listening, learning, and adapting our organizational policies to better support reconciliation with Indigenous people. We also commit to advocating for justice for past, present and future generations of Indigenous peoples.
Resources for support:
National Indian Residential School 24-Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
KUU-US Crisis Line Society (24/7, within BC): 1-800-588-8717 or kuu-uscrisisline.com
Calls to Action (from www.OnCanadaProject.ca/Settlers Take Action)
Step 1: Find out whose traditional territory you live on. Visit native-land.ca
Step 2: Click on the links of the territories from native-land.ca and learn more about the original caretakers of the land you now inhabit, their history and the current issues that affect their communities.
Step 3: Read about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and its 94 Calls to Action.
Find a TL;DR version of the report via the CBC.
Step 4: Email your MP. Tell them you care about the Indigenous people of Canada and want to see action taken to reconcile with them, as described in the Truth and Reconciliation Report. Ask for an update on what they are personally doing to take action. Hold them accountable.
You can also donate to a local or provincial survivor-driven community organization, such as the Indian Residential School Survivors’ Society: https://www.irsss.ca/ and the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society. https://fncaringsociety.com/