We are deeply saddened by the discovery of the 215 bodies of Indigenous children which were found in a mass burial site at a former Kamloops Residential school. It is a horrific reminder of the racist and genocidal approach to Indigenous people in Canada.
There are lasting impacts from colonization that Indigenous people and the families, survivors and victims of colonization are facing. This is not a distant part of Canadian history, it is an important reminder of the lasting trauma and reality of how Indigenous people continue to be treated. Residential schools operated in Canada until 1996, and still affect Indigenous communities and families today.
We grieve and mourn with all survivors of the residential school system, and their families. Especially to those of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, on whose unceded territory this school operated on until 1978.
To our Indigenous members, and the Indigenous members of the Douglas Community, please take the time you need right now. We cannot imagine the pain, suffering and trauma this has caused for you. If you need support, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to you 24/7 at 1-866-925-4419. More resources are available at https://www.irsss.ca/home
The Douglas Students’ Union is committed to reconciliation. Our learning is ongoing and we encourage you to keep listening and learning as well.
Here are some suggestions to take action and resources for you to learn more about the impacts and the Residential school system:
- Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 recommendations http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
- Contact your MPs and local officials
- Actively listen to people of First Nations, Inuit and Métis backgrounds
- Stand up to stereotypes, prejudice and systemic racism
- Have conversations with your family and friends (even children)
- Be respectful towards trauma survivors and elders
- Support Indigenous-led community organizations
- Be patient, empathetic & receptive (it’s distressing for everyone)
- Raise awareness in your community/online (wear orange)
- Read Volume 4 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on the Residential School system: https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Volume_4_Missing_Children_English_Web.pdf
- Donate and support work at organizations like:
- Follow and amplify Indigenous voices on social media and in the news:
- Follow and listen to Indigenous activists
- Challenge personal biases that have developed through misinformation, media portrayals, and societal views that have been passed down
The Douglas Students’ Union will be putting up 215 orange ribbons around the DSU areas for 215 days. When you see these ribbons, we would encourage you to remember why they are there and take time to remember the children that were taken by the hands of residential schools and other unfair practices towards indigenous people that continue to happen.