Experts on unmarked graves located on Kamloops residential school site

Law, Libraries, Education

​Credit: Carey Newman

The following University of Victoria experts are available to media for comment about the 215 Indigenous children found by the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in a mass grave on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School, as well as the history and legacy of residential schools, anti-colonial and anti-racist practices, language-learning as acts of love and hope, age-appropriate school curriculum, the Native American political context, and Indigenous laws related to these issues.

Carmen Rodriguez de France (Indigenous Education) is an expert in Indigenous education, teacher training and preparation, and social justice. She can discuss the need to start conversations about inequity and injustice at an early age in the family and through age-appropriate curriculum at school. She is available June 3, 2:30 to 6 p.m. or June 4. (Contact at 250-721-8633 or

John Borrows (Law) is an expert in Indigenous Law. He is the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law and co-founder of the world’s first Indigenous law degree program at UVic. He can discuss the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action, Canadian law dealing with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous peoples' own laws related to these questions. He is available on June 3. (Contact at 250-721-8168 or

Onowa McIvor (Indigenous Education) is an expert in Indigenous language revitalization, Indigenous education (K-12 and post-secondary), and the history of Indigenous education and language policy in Canada. She can discuss the intersections between Indigenous education, language policy and language revitalization. She can also discuss how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action can be actualized, the ways language can assist with returning what was taken from our Nations, and the role of residential schools within the larger project of colonization. (For interviews, contact Suzanne Ahearne at 250-721-7636 or

Patrick Lozar (History) is a historian and member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. His work focuses on the experiences of Indigenous communities in Interior BC and the Pacific Northwest whose homelands were divided by the Canada-United States border. He can comment on issues related to the histories of residential schools in Canada and the United States, colonialism in North America in general and British Columbia in particular, as well as First Nation and Native American political movements and border issues in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. (Contact

Qwul’sih’yah’maht (Robina Thomas) is UVic’s first associate vice-president, Indigenous. She is a research expert in areas such as Indigenous women, children, residential schools, storytelling, and anti-colonial/anti-racist practices as a way of life. Thomas has extensive knowledge on topics such as the Kuper Island Residential School, Indigenous women and leadership. She is a member of Lyackson First Nation and has Snuy’ney’muxw and Sto:lo ancestry through her grandparents. Thomas holds a faculty position in the School of Social Work, and she was the inaugural director and executive director of the Office of Indigenous Academic and Community. (For interviews, email Karen Johnston at

Ry Moran (Libraries) is an expert on truth and reconciliation in Canada and is the inaugural associate university librarian – reconciliation at UVic. As the former director of statement gathering for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and the founding director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, Moran can discuss the history, origins and legacy of residential schools, the TRC Calls to Action, social memory as it relates to Indigenous people, monuments and statues, systemic racism and discrimination across multiple sectors, and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. (For interviews, email Lisa Abram at

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Media contacts

Suzanne Ahearne (University Communications + Marketing) at 250-721-6139 or

In this story

Keywords: Indigenous, Robina Thomas, John Borrows, Ry Moran, Onowa McIvor, Carmen Rodriguez de France, Law, Education, Libraries

People: Robina Thomas, John Borrows, Ry Moran, Onowa McIvor, Carmen Rodriguez de France

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