Response to Kamloops Indian Residential School news

Dear Faculty of Science community members,

With heavy hearts, we share the recent news that the remains of 215 children were found in an unmarked, mass grave on the site of the former Kamloops Residential School. All of us from the Dean’s office want to express our profound feelings of grief and anger at this injustice, and to send our love and support to all Indigenous people as they grapple with this news. We especially want to honour and hold up the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation as they walk through this grieving and healing process.

Though horrific, the discovery was no surprise but confirmed what Indigenous communities have already known. Out of the over 150,000 Indigenous youth who attended residential school in Canada, over 4,100 passed away. With the last Residential School closing in 1996, there are still many survivors and their families that are fighting for healing and for justice.

We want to remind non-Indigenous people that this is not only a time for mourning and remembrance—this is a time for learning and of committing to change.

It is not enough to acknowledge Canada’s ongoing attempt to assimilate Indigenous people and destroy their identity as distinct, sovereign nations. We must also ask ourselves what we are going to do to interrupt that legacy and to create a future that protects and celebrates Indigenous people and culture. The journey toward decolonization, reconciliation, and anti-racism, begins with listening and truth-telling. It requires us to reflect on our own positionality and responsibilities to the peoples who have lived on and taken care of the land since time immemorial.

To all those who are struggling with this news, we encourage you to reach out for support. We want to remind you of the following supports and resources:

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the Tri-Faculty Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator, Lydia Toorenburgh at .


Peter Loock, Dean, and

Lydia Toorenburgh, Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator