Queen’s issues statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School burial site
May 31, 2021
That the bodies of 215 children have been discovered on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School is deeply upsetting. The impact of this news is being powerfully felt everywhere in our university community, as it is more broadly across the country and abroad. No one can be unaffected, even if it is difficult to imagine the full pain and anguish of families affected, as well as of residential school survivors everywhere. But imagining, understanding, and empathizing with that pain is a critical step on the path to reconciliation. We also recognize that this news is triggering of trauma for many Indigenous members of our community, especially those with close personal or family ties to experiences in the residential schools.
In keeping with our commitment to reconciliation flowing from the recommendations of Queen’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission task force and our Friendship Wampum covenant with local Indigenous communities, we send our condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nations for the tragic loss of their children. There are no words to ease the grief and pain of generations of children taken, futures, gifts and dreams unrealized but our hope is for closure and healing for the families of these children.
Especially for a community dedicated to learning, as ours is, the knowledge that so much harm was done to innocent children in the name of education is simply abhorrent. In such knowledge, however, we may find the strength to work actively for healing and for the wellbeing of everyone today in honour of those lost children.
The flags on campus have been lowered to the acknowledge the loss of the 215 children. They will remain lowered for 215 hours or nine days, one hour for each child taken.
Those seeking support may wish to contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation or Four Directions, both on campus. For immediate assistance, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.
Principal and Vice Chancellor
Rahswahérha Mark Green
Provost and Vice Principal (Academic)
Kanonhsyonne Janice C. Hill (Jan)
Associate Vice-Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation)
Office of Indigenous Initiatives