Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Tribal Chief Mina Holmes has issued the following statement regarding the discovery of 215 bodies at the Kamloops Residential School:
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council is devastated to learn that the remains of 215 children were discovered buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School last weekend.
This Thursday, May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc band confirmed the remains were found with the help of a ground-penetrating radar specialist. Work is still being done on the site to potentially find more remains.
Some of our people spent their childhoods at this school, which closed in 1969, and it is possible our own members are among the unidentified remains found there last weekend. This is a painful reminder of an unspeakable injustice on our people through the Residential School System that aimed to erase us from our land and from history.
These 215 lives ended in childhood were the result of an act of colonial violence and genocide; we will never know who these children would have become to us.
We as Carrier Sekani First Nations must say a prayer for much needed healing and to honour the children who were forcibly separated from their families before having their lives taken from them too soon.
As a community, we will never forget the atrocities done to our people, but we have the strength of many to heal and pray together. We are reminded to also ask for healing for those who still carry the scars of Residential School today.
Our hearts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc band as we spend time this weekend reflecting on this horrifying discovery.