The confirmation of the findings of the 215 missing children from the Kamloops Residential School is distressing. We can only imagine the grief and pain that the families and communities of the missing children are enduring. Our thoughts are with their families and communities, the residential school survivors and our grieving colleagues. We support returning these children to their families and communities with proper protocols. The lives of these children and the lives of survivors, and their stories, will never be forgotten.
We call on the Government of Canada, faith organizations, and provincial governments with historical involvement in residential schooling to take immediate action regarding these findings. The action our Faculty Association, as educators and knowledge workers, are requesting is for the unshared residential school records be opened and reviewed through a comprehensive forensic investigation at all residential school sites. Proper funding must be administered to ensure the forensic investigation receives the attention this case deserves. Lastly we are requesting that any and all other necessary steps as outlined in 71—76 of the TRC Calls to Action be at the forefront of this investigation.
We would like to remind our members about the KUU-US services for and by First Nations where all the crisis personnel are certified and trained in Indigenous cultural safety. The toll-free line is available at: 1-800-588-8717.
We stand by the Statement from the Office of the Chief, Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc: “We ask all Canadians to reacquaint themselves with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Final Report and Calls to Action – upholding the heavy lifting already done by the survivors, intergenerational survivors, and the TRC. In addition, to show your solidarity, we encourage you to wear an orange shirt and start conversations with your neighbours about why you are doing so. Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc is now accepting donations that will automatically be deposited into a separate account set up for this initiative. The email is: email@example.com. There is no other fundraising initiative that Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc has authorised or is participating in at this time.”
You can access the Truth and Reconciliation Calls for Action here: http://trc.ca/assets/pdf/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
CUFA BC has also released a statement with several recommendations appropriate for an academic environment, along with where donations may be made to two other Indigenous organizations. The statement can be accessed here: https://www.cufa.bc.ca/cufa-bc-faculty-mourn-deaths-former-kamloops-indian-residential-school/.
We would also like to mention that the UNBC FA Executive has approved making donations to the Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc account, and to help Indigenous student services on the UNBC campus.