215 Mass graves were found on the grounds of the residential school Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, in Kamloops B.C
Today marks the first anniversary of the discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried in a mass grave near the former residential school Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc in Kamloops, B.C.
Residential schools represent one of Canada’s darkest moments in history. From 1883 to 1998, over 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in residential schools. These schools cause physical, emotional, and psychological harm to the Indigenous community.
The purpose of these schools was to eliminate Indigenous language, culture, and way of life. In 1920, Indigenous children between 7 to 15 must attend residential schools as dictated by the Indian Act.
“The Missing remind us of our responsibility to uncover the truth of Canada’s colonial history, to face the continued intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools and to take meaningful action toward reconciliation for current and future generations. This means confronting Indigenous-specific racism and narratives that seek to deny or diminish the harms of the residential school system.
“I invite all British Columbians to honour Le Estcwicwéy̓. There is still much work to do, and more difficult days lie ahead. We all have a responsibility to stand as leaders and to help bring respect to where there has been indignity, comfort where there has been pain, and hope where there has been healing.” Said, B.C Premier John Horgan
Closure, many families of residential school survivors never received closure. There are still a lot of questions that need answers, and what are the best steps moving forward. Will the children’s bodies be exhumed and given a proper burial after all efforts to identify their Family members? Or will the grounds remain untouched and become a memorial site.
These are all tough conversations the Canadian government will need to have with the Indigenous community. Until that happens, our thoughts and prayers lay with the 215 Indigenous children of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and the thousands of unmarked graves discovered within the last couple of years.