Mourning the 215 Indigenous children found in Kamloops

Our heartfelt thoughts go to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, all Indigenous communities, and Indigenous faculty, staff, and students at the University, and their families, who are grieving the 215 children whose remains were found in an unmarked grave on the grounds of the former Kamloops Residential School as well as all of the victims of Canada’s colonial and genocidal residential school system. These include the Indigenous children forced into residential schools who did not return to their families and communities, those Indigenous children who are still unaccounted for, and those Indigenous residential school survivors whose lives were and continue to be deeply impacted by the many forms of violence they had to endure.

We want to express our deep condolences, support, and care to Indigenous faculty, staff, and students in the Faculty of Humanities and across the University. For those who wish to or need to access Indigenous counselling, the Indian Residential School Survivors Society provides services and can be reached at 1-800-721-0066. It also has a 24/7 Emergency Crisis Line available at 1-866-925-4419.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society and other organizations are calling for action and restitution from the federal government and the Catholic Church as well as for all residential school grounds to be investigated. As members of the Faculty of Humanities, we must also be accountable in this time of reckoning.

We urge all uninvited visitors to Indigenous territories to reflect deeply on and face the violence of Canada’s colonial past and present and its profound effects on Indigenous peoples and communities. The last several days have taught us that there is an ongoing and urgent need to embed decolonial and anti-racist thinking, practice, and action into all aspects of our lives.

In the Faculty, we will strengthen our commitment and resolve to undertake the hard work of reconciliation, decolonization, and anti-racism.

Annalee Lepp, Acting Dean
Alex D’Arcy, Associate Dean Research
Lisa Surridge, Associate Dean Academic


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