The Ktunaxa Nation Council is deeply saddened by the news of the discovery of the remains of hundreds of children found buried on the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
In a statement released Tuesday, June 1, the First Nation calls upon all Canadians to learn the history of the residential school system in this country, and what this system was designed to do.
“Healing can only begin when the absolute truth is known,” the statement read. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada website houses a large number of educational resources on the dark history of the residential school system.”
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced last week that the remains of the 215 children were located using ground penetrating radar on the site of the school. The remains of these children, some as young as three years old, are considered undocumented deaths. The school housed up to 500 students at any given time from First Nations in British Columbia and beyond.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School now stands as the eternal resting place for these children.
“The Ktunaxa Nation Council thanks the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Leadership for acknowledging their responsibility as their caretakers. We know there are thousands more children who died in these institutions who are buried in graves marked and unmarked across Canada.
“The dark legacy of the residential school system is still felt in every Indigenous community across Canada. These 215 children had names. They had families. The Ktunaxa Nation Council hopes that in some way, this sad news brings a sense of closure and peace to every mother and father, every brother and sister, every grandmother and grandfather and every community that experienced the trauma of having a family member never return home from the school.”
The Ktunaxa Nation flag at the Ktunaxa Nation Government Building has been lowered to half mast in memory of the 215 children that were taken from their families and never returned home.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is a 24-hour phone line available to provide support for residential school survivors and can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.
In B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line provides First Nations and Indigenous specific support and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717.