“I thought I had a good idea of what to expect. I received hundreds of calls, often just to cry. I can hear not only the pain and the anguish, but also the anger that no one believed the stories they had told. I can also hear their sense that they have lost some hope that maybe those children that hadn’t returned might still be found. They now know that may not happen. Survivors talked about children who suddenly went missing. Some talked about children who went missing into mass burial sites. Some survivors talked about infants who were born to young girls at the residential schools, infants who had been fathered by priests, were taken away from them and deliberately killed — sometimes thrown into furnaces, we were told.” Murray Sinclair Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, June 1, 2021.
We pause to acknowledge the heartbreaking grief and pain of indigenous families who lost their beloved children. Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation Chief Rosanne Casimir calls the discovery of 215 children buried in a mass grave an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about, but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School,” which was the largest school in the country’s Indian Affairs residential school system. For more than a hundred years. 160,000 Indigenous children across Canada were forcibly removed from their families and placed into boarding schools where their language, spirituality, culture and basic humanity was literally beaten out of them. Many of them died.
We can no longer plead ignorance, continue omission, condone erasure, be accomplices to the neglect of these facts and evidence in Canadian history. We need to own up to our dark past and our not so informed present. No longer can we wring our hands and say we had nothing to do with it.
Today we do.
Today we are being held to account for what we are going to do. This known yet omitted history is the cause of indescribable pain and anguish in our communities and we cannot be oblivious to it anymore. For all of us: we must make the time to educate our selves if we have not already done so and commit to a better world.
This cannot ever happen again. And we must learn our history.
Please take a moment to download the documents listed below and read them, learn the truth, hold people accountable and start the work towards a collective reconciliation with our past.
A residential school timeline from 131 – 1996 – hthis in our lifetime. https://nctr.ca/exhibits/residential-school-timeline/
10 years work of reports written about settler supremacy and the perpetuation of racism here: https://nctr.ca/records/reports/
Where are the children buried? Read Dr. Scott Hamilton’s report. https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/AAAA-Hamilton-Report-Illustrations-final.pdf
What does The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report recommend? 2019 http://www.trc.ca/index.html
Why do we not know about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls – June 3, 2019 https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Final_Report_Vol_1a-1.pdf
In Plain Sight – Nov 2020, tells of the rampant racism in the health care sector in BC https://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/613/2020/11/In-Plain-Sight-Full-Report.pdf
The BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/indigenous-people/new-relationship/united-nations-declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples