every child matters

Statement on the Burial Site Found in Kamloops Residential School 

Friday, May 28, 2021

YWCA Metro Vancouver Statement on the Burial Site Found on the Grounds of the Former Kamloops Indian Residential School

YWCA Metro Vancouver is deeply saddened to learn that the burial site of 215 children has been confirmed on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We join the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community, survivors and others whose family members were sent to this institution in their grief, and we recognize and honour the lives of children lost. 

This is just one shocking example of the damaging and lasting impacts of the Canadian Residential School system that was inflicted on Indigenous peoples. The legacies of this racist and genocidal system continue to be felt among individuals, families and communities. This tragedy also shines light on the importance of recognizing and respecting the power of oral history and community memory. 

We stand with Residential School survivors, individuals, families, colleagues and groups dedicated to demanding justice and transformative change. The YWCA calls on the federal government to immediately make meaningful progress toward implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action aimed at redressing the legacy of Residential Schools and advancing reconciliation in Canada. We also call on municipal, provincial and federal governments to implement the 231 Calls for Justice from the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Final Report.  

We understand this loss affects individuals, families and communities in British Columbia and beyond and hope all those impacted by this tragedy will seek support: 

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: kuu-uscrisisline.com.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society - British Columbia has opened their telephone support line for anyone requiring emotional assistance. Call toll-free at 1-800-721-0066. They will provide 24-hour support on Friday, May 28, 2021, and be available on May 29 and May 30, 2021, from 8am to 11pm. 

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has also 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. 

Photo courtesy of the Province of British Columbia