CW: Mentions of violence, death, genocide and colonialism
On Thursday, May 27, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found buried in an unmarked mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School. These were acts of cultural violence, genocide and colonialism.
For the 215 children that didn’t make it home from Kamloops Residential School; for the thousands more across Canada that are yet to be found; for those that made it home and still carry their pain with them – we honour you, today and every day. We honour the residential school survivors, our parents, grandparents, aunties, uncles and our fellow classmates that survived when survival was not guaranteed when the odds were against them.
This is not an isolated incident nor is it a historical issue. It is a current issue. Since as early as the 1830’s, over 150,000 Indigenous children were stolen from their families and brought to residential schools. In its report, The Truth and Reconciliation Commission officially confirmed 51 deaths at the Kamloops Residential School but claimed that this was not an extensive list and they feared that there were more children that were unaccounted for. We see this reflected in the substantially higher number of children as we look to the 215 that have recently been found. These residential schools were used by the government of “Canada” to remove any Indigenous culture from Indigenous Peoples. The last residential school only closed in 1996. The ongoing injustices exist today. The Canadian governments have failed to address these injustices, they continue this violence towards Indigenous Peoples and have lacked accountability to provide truth and reconciliation that is meaningful and necessary for Indigenous People to begin healing from the personal and intergenerational trauma.
Our thoughts go out to the families and the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations community whose children were taken away from them and to the 215 children who lost their innocent lives. Every child matters.
For support, the IRSSS (Indian Residential School Survivors Society) Emergency Crisis Line is available 24/7 for those that may need counselling at 1-800-721-0066 or the Residential School Survivor 24hour crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.
Kamloops Residential School – National Residential School Memorial Register (nctr.ca) this is the link for the number of confirmed deaths at Kamloops