The Department of Gender Studies stands in solidarity with Four Directions and Indigenous Communities. We send our condolences to Tk’emlúps e Secwépemc. We grieve the terrible loss of the lives of so many little ones and all they could have offered to the world. As Kandice has said, may we will be the people that those children needed. We resist settler colonialism in all its manifestations, and will do all that we can to promote justice and safety for all Indigenous peoples.
4D Director, Statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School
The discovery of the mass grave at Kamloops Indian Residential School by the community of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is a brutal reminder of the horrors of the residential school system and its clear intention – the total eradication of Indigenous children, families, and communities. Unfortunately, this discovery only confirms what the community has known for years. 4D sends our most sincere condolences to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, and all who survived and were stolen.
4D stands with Indigenous communities in our shared grief over the loss of life and its impacts on all the generations. Those little ones would have been language speakers, knowledge holders, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunties. The profound loss of the potential they had to be loved and show love, and the legacies of what might have been, is unimaginable and impossible to process and comprehend.
I encourage all who are reading this to be the people that those children needed. Settler colonialism remains fixated on the original goal of eradication today. There are many recent and ongoing examples of this, and I encourage you to engage in your democracies and communities to make Canada a safer place for all Indigenous children to grow old in.
To Indigenous students, and community members, please take care of yourself. We all feel the impacts of the residential school system and we do not need to have direct experience to understand and live with the effects. All feelings of rage and grief are valid, and we hold you in our minds and send all the care we can offer at this time.
Indigenous children are gifts to the world and are proof that settler colonialism and the residential school system did not work. As I have said before, it is our beauty that they are threatened by. We will remain, remember, and rebuild what they have stolen and damaged.
For those seeking support, please see below:
Lisa Doxtator, Cultural Counsellor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wendy Phillips, Elder-in-Residence, email@example.com
National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline - 1-866-925-4419
Empower Me - 1-833-628-5589
Director, Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre