Response to 751

Dear Faculty of Science community members,

We are reaching out to you in response to the tragic news of the 751 unmarked graves found at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. Our hearts go out to the Cowessess First Nation and all Indigenous Peoples across Canada. This is a devastating confirmation of profound loss that Indigenous communities have long known to be the truth, and it affects all of us deeply.

This burial site, the largest one to date, was uncovered only weeks after the remains of 215 children were found in unmarked graves on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory.

UVic President Kevin Hall : “This is the latest, and largest, of a growing list of burial sites that have been left unseen by the Canadian public — and it most certainly won’t be the last. The generations of stolen children must be returned home to their families and Nations.”

We agree.

We understand this news is difficult for many in our communities. If you need support, please reach out:

UVic resources

Additional resources

We also invite you to visit UVic’s 215 website where a recording of the Sacred Fire ceremony, held June 1, is available as well as more support, resources, and a statement from the president.

In his statement, President Hall affirms that all educational institutions have a responsibility to acknowledge and address our role in perpetuating colonial systems. He notes this statement is just an initial response with a promise that much more reflection, learning and, most importantly, action will take place over the coming weeks and months.

If you need assistance with accessing further support and information, you can reach out to Lydia, the Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator, at , who is available to assist students, instructors, and staff.

With deep sadness and resolute commitment,

Peter Loock, Dean, and

Lydia Toorenburgh, Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator