The community of ʔaq̓am, near Cranbrook, has released a statement on the impact the news of the discovery of unmarked graves of children at the site of a former residential school has had on members of its community.
St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino at ʔaq̓am is itself a former residential school.
“On May 28, 2021, it was announced that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School,” the statement read.
That news has brought back painful memories for our community and has elicited many questions from our citizens and the public regarding potential work in and around the St. Eugene Mission cemetery and ʔaq̓am community.”
The band also commented on its used of ground-penetrating radar on a portion of its own cemetery in 2020.
“At the request of our elders, we conducted ground-penetrating radar on a portion of our cemetery in 2020. This work was undertaken to ensure future preservation of ancestral remains, a pillar within our Community Strategic Plan, ka kniⱡwi·tiyaⱡa.
“We will conduct further work this summer and continue to build a comprehensive record that will shape our community connection and preservation.
“We ask for privacy and patience as we undertake this important work to honour our ancestors.
“The ʔaq̓am community has completed and will continue to complete this important work along side our Elder’s and Knowledge holders.
“We as the community of ʔaq̓am stand by our brothers and sisters in Kamloops and across the country, and we will continue to do the work of healing for our communities now and into the future”said Nasuʔkin Joe Pierre