Content warning: child abuse, residential schools, colonization
We stand in grief and solidarity at the news that the bodies of 215 Indigenous children were found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory. It is a blunt heartbreaking reminder of what we already know to be true: residential schools were an instrument of genocide perpetrated by the federal government and religious institutions against Indigenous peoples in Canada.
Our responsibility as settler Canadians extends beyond solidarity. While holding space for the healing of Indigenous peoples, we need to step up and do the work: to end injustice, to eliminate inequity and to enact and embody true reconciliation.
We, at SeeChange, acknowledge that as settlers, we have benefited from colonialism and recognize we have a role to play in the work of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We commit to taking individual and collective actions:
- To listen actively to Indigenous people to learn truthfully and to unlearn our biases;
- To educate ourselves about the history of the genocide against Indigenous peoples;
- To engage in dialogue with our Indigenous colleagues and peers about the intergenerational impacts of residential schools (and other genocidal policies) and the ongoing racism and discrimination against Indigenous peoples that persists today; and
- To amplify and reaffirm Indigenous voices and perspectives.
- SeeChange joins Indigenous leaders and allies in calling on the federal, provincial and territorial governments to:
- Implement the Calls to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, specifically and urgently #71 – 76 related to missing children and burial information;
- Implement the Calls to Justice in National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls;
- Implement the recommendations from the In Plain Sight report;
- Justly and urgently settle all lawsuits brought forward by residential school survivors; and
- Hold religious institutions to account for their role in the genocide against Indigenous peoples.
Emotional support or assistance for those who are affected by the residential school system can be found at Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll-free 1 (800) 721-0066 or 24 hr Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419.