June 7, 2021
The Inter-Council Network, comprised of Canada’s eight Provincial and Regional Councils for International Cooperation, would like to express our deep sadness at the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children, some as young as 3 years of age, at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.
We stand in solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all Indigenous communities as they experience the reopening of these painful memories and convey our sincere condolences to the families and communities whose children never returned home.
To honour the memories of these lost children, Council members, staff and our partners stand ready to listen to the truth of residential school survivors and understand the intergenerational trauma caused by being forcibly removed from families, communities, language and culture. As a gesture towards reconciliation, we commemorate the memories of survivors and mourn those who died as a result of policies and practices rooted in racism, colonialism and patriarchy.
This tragedy, however, moves us to do much more than acknowledge the pain and injustice that continues to be perpetrated on First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. It is time to act on the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and implement the 94 Calls to Action, in particular 71 through 76, which outline how to redress the legacy of residential schools.
We call upon provincial, territorial and federal governments to immediately implement an action plan, led by First Nations, Mètis and Inuit peoples, to fully fund investigations into all former residential school sites, locate and map graves, determine the causes of death and make this information available to families so that proper cultural protocols can be made to honour and remember these deceased children.
For many Indigenous families this is a very difficult time. Support is available for those affected by the ongoing trauma of residential schools from the national 24/7 toll-free Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.