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Fred Victor’s Statement on 215 Indigenous Children

We mourn the loss of the 215 children from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nations whose remains were uncovered at the former Kamloops, BC Indian Residential School.

We grieve with the families and communities directly impacted by this tragic discovery, and we stand in solidarity with all Indigenous peoples working toward truth, justice and reconciliation.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates the residential school system separated 150,000 Indigenous children from their families between the 1870s and 1996. It is also estimated that 4,100-6,000 children died while attending these residential schools.

The brutality and violence inflicted upon Indigenous children in the Canadian residential school system is not in the past. The effects of these atrocities, the resultant personal and intergenerational trauma, continue to this day.

Every day, we see the consequences of colonialism and institutionalized oppression on the marginalized communities we serve – from the criminal justice system, to income and health inequities.

Beyond mourning, we understand that we need to do more.

We commit to listening to and amplifying the voices of Indigenous peoples. We acknowledge that, though we are not directly responsible for the unconscionable acts committed at residential schools, we still benefit from colonialism. We will not look away from our country’s past – and will support the difficult work toward meaningful reconciliation.

We stand with Indigenous communities in their call for:

  • A National Day of Mourning
  • A federally-funded investigation into all other residential schools in Canada
  • The federal government to follow through on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action
  • Provide funding for healing services for all who are affected
  • Pass Bill C-15, the legislation to bring Canadian law in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
  • An end to the legal challenge to the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s decision that Canada has discriminated against off-reserve Indigenous children and their families and award them the financial compensation they deserve
  • An apology from the Pope for the role the Catholic church played in these deaths and abuses

Sincerely,

Keith Hambly, CEODeane Collinson, Board of Directors Chair