An unmarked mass grave of Indigenous children stolen from their families was found at Kamloops Indian Residential School.
These children were murdered by the government and the state church. This is colonization. The murder of babies and children who today would have been elders in their communities. Who today could have been sharing knowledge, memories, laughter, language, and history. Who were not lost but stolen. Who did not die but were murdered.
This is not shocking, Indigenous communities have been living in this trauma for generations and have been speaking the truth about the ongoing genocide and abuse. There are more stolen children, youth, adults, and elders.
These graves were only discovered because of the work of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation so they “may begin the process of honouring the lost loved ones” (quote from Statement from the Office of the Chief, Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir https://tkemlups.ca/wp-content/uploads/05-May-31 – 2021-TteS-MEDIA-RELEASE.pdf). There are Indigenous communities across Turtle Island that have been calling for this work to be done at local residential schools. The reality that has long been known by these communities is that there are many more than the 215 and yet our government has not committed the necessary funding to bring the bodies of Indigenous children home to their relatives and communities. We must listen to and support the needs of each individual community who know best how they must grieve and heal as a community.
To the many Indigenous communities suffering through this trauma you are loved and so important. Your trauma is real and while those of us who are settlers will never know or feel the true depth of your trauma we send you so much love and solidarity. We will show up with you to demand justice, decolonization, and Indigenous sovereignty.
A national residential school crisis line is available to provide 24⁄7 support to residential school survivors and others who are affected: 1−866−925−4419
To the settlers who are not sure where they to begin working in solidarity with Indigenous communities as they grieve we leave you with these thoughts. Know that as a settler while you may be feeling heavy-hearted by this news it will never compare to the grief, rage, and hurt felt by Indigenous communities. Do not take up space, give space to Indigenous folks for their feelings and grief. While you may be feeling outrage and sorrow now do not let that go but allow it to guide your actions. Listen, learn, and act. Do not expect Indigenous folks now or ever to educate you on their trauma, abuse, and oppression. Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report (http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Honouring_the_Truth_Reconciling_for_the_Future_July_23_2015.pdf) and hold the government accountable for its ongoing abuse of Indigenous peoples. Listen to Indigenous voices, in your life, on social media, and through Indigenous organizations (https://www.irsss.ca, http://www.nativewomenscentre.com, http://www.hric.ca, https://m.facebook.com/sistersinspirit1/, https://www.nwac.ca). Show up in the ways they ask you to, amplify their calls for action. Give funds, goods, signatures, and your time where it is needed. Do not let this violence and genocide be hidden and forgotten about by the government and settlers because for Indigenous folks this is not possible, it is a daily reality and we all need to show up for Indigenous communities every day.
The memorial at “The Eagles Among Us” at Battlefield Park will remain up until Wednesday evening. Folks can still go to visit, mourn, and leave shoes and tributes.
There is also a local vigil being held this Friday at Bayfront Park. For details visit https://fb.me/e/F6E1IleT