Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement about the burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School:
“I am horrified and heartbroken to learn that the burial site of 215 children has been confirmed on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. I honour Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc as they grapple with this burden from a dark chapter of Canadian history and uphold their commitment to complete this investigation over the coming weeks – bringing to light the full truth of this loss.
“Each child has been forever taken from a family and a community that loved them. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And it is a stark example of the violence the Canadian residential school system inflicted upon Indigenous peoples and how the consequences of these atrocities continue to this day.
“The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people have said they are the caretakers of these children, as some would have been brought to the residential school from neighbouring Nations. My thoughts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and all who mourn, as they enact their cultural protocols to notify First Nations communities whose children were sent to this school.”
Support services are available for those affected by this news:
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1 866 925-4419.
Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717. Alternatively, call direct into the Youth Line at 250 723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250 723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/ (https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/)
Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond released the following joint statement today with MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson Peter Milobar and MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson Todd Stone:
“The horrific discovery of a burial site of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is absolutely heartbreaking.
“Our hearts go out to all those impacted by this devastating situation, especially the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people and other bands who had their children taken to this Residential School.
“The death of each and every one of these children is an irreplaceable loss for Indigenous families and represents the dark history that all of us must grapple with.
“The treatment that Indigenous children and their families endured for decades cannot be forgotten or ignored. We must continue to shine a light on that darkness in order to learn from history and engage in genuine and effective reconciliation.
“As we join the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and others in mourning, we commit to remembering, honouring, healing, and learning while re-affirming our steadfast commitment to meaningful reconciliation.”