Acknowledging families, communities and ceremonies of Secwepemc - Shuswap peoples

Please take a moment to watch the video message from Kundoqk, Jacquie Green, Director.

We would also like to share the message below from Helga Hallgrímsdóttir, HSD Dean.

RE: Remembering the children of Kamloops Indian Residential School

Dear colleagues and members of our HSD Community,

Monday, May 31, I invite you to join me in wearing our orange shirts in honour of the 215 children who attended Kamloops Indian Residential School and were never accounted for until a discovery last week. 

In a news release, Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation Chief Rosanne Casimir calls the discovery 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. “Each child has been forever taken from a family and a community that loved them. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And it is a stark example of the violence the Canadian residential school system inflicted upon Indigenous peoples and how the consequences of these atrocities continue to this day.” 

As a Faculty of scholars and teachers engaged in social, health and human services, this terrible discovery serves as a reminder of our continued responsibility to unpack and address the colonial systems that continue to harm and perpetuate violence towards Indigenous children, youth, families, and communities. We must be cognizant of the trauma that was done to the Indigenous First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Old Ones & Elders, students, staff, and faculty, who attended these institutions or are the intergenerational survivors of the 120 year Canadian Indian Residential School system.

This is a time of grieving. Tomorrow, Tuesday June 1st marks the beginning of National Indigenous Month in Canada. This is not a time to turn away from our past. This is a time of remembering the harms and injustice of colonialism on which this nation was built and which continues to benefit many of us today.

As we remember the lost lives of these children, I invite you to join me in making concrete our pledge to walk the path of truth and reconciliation, by donating to a local or provincial survivor driven community organization. Two such organizations are:

At dinnertime on May 31st, we are also invited to place teddy bears on our doorsteps with the light on to honour these 215 children. May they rest in peace and may we care for all children in our communities.  

Source of quote: 

Source of data: 

Helga Kristín Hallgrímsdóttir, PhD (she/her/hers) 

Professor and Dean,
Faculty of Human & Social Development


If you need immediate support, please contact 24-hour, Indigenous crisis lines:

  • KUU-US: Adult 250-723-4050, Youth 250-723-2040
  • IRS Survivors: 1-866-925-4419

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