The devastating discovery of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is a painful reminder of the residential school system’s horrific legacy of violence and abuse. The YWCAs of Alberta mourn these children, and extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the survivors, families and all First Nations people throughout Turtle Island.
Without Truth, there can be no Reconciliation. The traumas that communities, families, and survivors of residential schools endured have been passed down through the generations. We know this revelation will reopen old scars for survivors of the residential school system and the trauma they experienced. We offer our deepest condolences to the generations of families who continue to experience the loss and suffering of this genocide. We hope this opens the door to the repatriation of all the children who never returned home from residential schools.
We call upon all levels of government to take action and implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action. Volume 4 specifically addresses Missing Children and Unmarked Burials. We stand together to seek justice for these children and their families and call on our governments to search all former residential school grounds for mass graves to honour and acknowledge each and every child who never came home.
We all have a responsibility to act. The YWCAs of Alberta are committed to continue learning, advocating for and reconciling with the Indigenous Peoples of our country. We must acknowledge and move past our colonial roots to a place where these kinds of atrocities and systemic racism no longer plague our communities.
The confidential, toll-free National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for all survivors and those who need it: 1-866-925-4419
The journey of Truth and Reconciliation is just beginning. Here are some actions WE CAN ALL take:
– Read the Truth & Reconciliation Report
– Contact your elected officials and ask how they are working to implement the 94 recommendations
– Learn more. The Indigenous Canada course is a free 12-session course taught from an Indigenous perspective exploring Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
– Actively listen to Indigenous voices with respect, patience and empathy.