Please note that the story below contains difficult material relating to residential schools in Canada. Indigenous survivors and their families in need of assistance can contact the Indian Residential School Crisis Line at any time 24/7: 1-866-925-4419.
215 children. Buried in a mass grave. Unmarked on the grounds of East Kamloops Indian Residential School. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation made discovery after property search using ground-penetrating radar. The cemetery contains the bodies of children under the age of three.
This discovery gave a take heart Of sadness, shock and fury from across Canada and beyond. It is horrifying to find the bodies of 215 children in the grounds of a former residential school. But this is no surprise.
Survivors of residential schools have spoken for decades about mass cemeteries adjacent to residential schools. Six years ago today, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report. TRC estimates that Up to 6000 children died in residential schools, and many of these are unspecified. It has 1 in every 25 children participating.
The day the news broke, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted that it was “a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter in our nation’s history”. But this is not history, and the chapter is not closed.
On this day six years ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released a road map for Canada to heal the scars of residential schools and address their continuing legacy of injustice. Yet the federal government and other institutions have done little to meet the TRC. call to action. As of today, only a few of the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action have been fully implemented (only 10 out of 94 according to CBC)
Residential schools are just one part of the genocide that has been going on for more than a century. National Investigation into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls National concluded Genocide is the appropriate term for the experience of indigenous peoples in Canada after consultation with international legal scholars and experts:
“This genocide has been perpetuated by colonial structures, notably the Indian Act, the Scoop of the Sixties, as evidenced by residential schools, and violations of human and Inuit, Métis and First Nations rights, which directly lead to violence, death and death.” , and leading to current increased rates of suicide in indigenous populations.”
We see evidence of this continuing genocide today in the over-representation of indigenous children in the child welfare system. In the continuing disappearances of Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people. Fighting residential school survivors in court in the federal government. In the decades-old boil water advice. and in many attempts to drive indigenous peoples out of their lands so as to extract resources through environmental destruction.
To be a key point for greater accountability and justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada we must simultaneously emphasize the pursuit of 215 children.
Here are the ways you can take action:
Support indigenous-led calls to fully implement all TRC’s calls to action
Tweet on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for calling on the federal government to fully implement the TRC’s call to action:
.@Justin Trudeau enough is enough. It was not just a ‘dark chapter’ and this chapter is not closed. It’s time for your government to implement it completely #Truth and Reconciliation #215Kids #Kamloops Residential School #everychild matters #indigenous rights #TRC
Donate to Indigenous Organizations
Donate to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation: [email protected]
Donate to support counseling and other services for residential school survivors and their families: Indian Residential School Survivors Society
Donate to support First Nations Child and Family Services agencies: First Nations Child and Family Caring Society
Donate to support Indigenous women, girls and gender diverse people: Indigenous Women’s Association of Canada
Donate to support indigenous communities fighting the legal battle for their land and rights: Raven Trust
Deepen your knowledge of Canada’s colonial past and present
Learn more about residential schools and TRC’s call to action:
reading list: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPgBXWZNXBb/
Movies / Documentaries: https://www.instagram.com/p/CPghcIPtCYi/
Join indigenous canada, a free Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) that explores Indigenous history and key issues facing indigenous peoples today.
Check out the variety of learning resources on Settlers on Canada take action page.
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