Honour and remember the 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School

Content Warning (CW)/ Trigger Warning (TW) : Mentions of Indian Residential School (IRS), Colonial Harm, Colonial Impacts, Death, Death of First Nations Children. 24 Hour Crisis Line Indian Residential School Survivors and Family: 1-866-925-4419

Tawnshi kaakiyow awiiyuk/Hello everyone,

On May 27 a heartbreaking announcement came from Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc that confirmed 215 children were found buried underneath the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The deaths of these children were not recorded by the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

It is in every Canadians hands to accept the brutal history of genocide that Canada enacts on Indigenous people. Our Indigenous colleagues, friends, and loved ones are impacted by the grief and trauma of losing their children. Non-Indigenous Canadians cannot change the past, but they can offer acceptance, support, and, most importantly, change to reconcile this shared history.

We want to honour and remember the 215 children whose lives were prematurely ended by wearing orange from Monday, May 31 until Wednesday, June 9. A total of 215 hours. Attached are virtual backgrounds for any virtual meeting platform. Here is a link on how to change your background for Microsoft Teams. Please take some time to think about how you can continue to support Indigenous communities in the weeks, months, and years to come. Think about attending or hosting an Orange Shirt Day Event on September 30 each year.

The impacts of these genocidal practices towards Indigenous children and their communities has continued for generations. Please advocate and demand that your local organizations, governments, and employers create change by:

1. Actively pursuing the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Report

2. Actively pursuing the 231 Calls for Justice from the Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Take the time to reach out and offer space to anyone you know that may be impacted by this news. 

Remember that the 24 Hour Crisis Line for Indian Residential School Survivors and Family is 1-866-925-4419.

All of our relations,

Andre Bessette, Jill MacNeil, Rod Cunningham, Susie Blyth
PSAC BC Regional Council Indigenous People’s Coordinator and Alternates, on behalf of the PSAC BC Indigenous Caucus