IDRF expresses solidarity with the Indigenous community in response to the discovery of the mass gravesite in Kamloops, B.C.
The recent discovery of a mass grave of 215 children buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia has shocked and saddened Canadians from coast to coast, including the Board, staff and volunteers of IDRF.
Our thoughts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, their families, residential school survivors and all who mourn the lost children.
From 1890 until the late 1970s, many Indigenous children were taken from their families and communities to boarding schools like the one in Kamloops to forcibly assimilate them. At the homes, they were forbidden from speaking their native languages or performing cultural practices. Physical, emotional, and sexual abuse was rampant, as was forced labour.
Many of the Indigenous children never returned home and their parents never received a proper explanation of what happened. At least 150,000 of them attended these boarding schools, and until the last school closed in 1996 it is estimated that at least 4,100 students died. Some of the remains from Kamloops belong to children as young as three years old.
IDRF recognizes the inequities still faced by the Indigenous population here in Canada and we know we have much work to do in this country. We can only imagine the immense grief and pain the community must be feeling right now but we are committed to working alongside and supporting our Indigenous communities.
May we remember and honour the lives of these children, forever.