As we were preparing to welcome Indigenous History Month, we learned the staggering news that 215 children’s remains have been found in a mass burial site at a Kamloops residential school. This discovery serves as a tragic reminder of all the children who never returned home, of the trauma and pain for those children who did, and of the anguish of those left behind. We bear witness to the grief of families from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, and all Indigenous people who suffered similar losses.
The residential school tragedy is not “ancient history” – it is a current, ongoing trauma for Indigenous families and communities. And it should be a wake-up call to all of us – a reminder that we need to create a different future. While we mourn these innocent souls, we also recognize the pain and trauma of all Indigenous children, youth and families who had suffered and who continue to suffer as a result of long-standing injustices inflicted upon their communities for over a hundred years.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action is our collective responsibility to listen, learn and act.
For all the children who have been abducted. For all of those who live with the trauma of their past today. For all those who perished. For these 215 little souls.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Executive Director of The Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa