Statement from President Angus Graeme
I am horrified, deeply saddened and outraged by the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Territory. We must never forget the tragedy of young lives senselessly cut short, the devastation brought to families and communities subjected to the removal of their children, and cruelties by the hands of those entrusted with their care and education. We must never forget and continue to honour the survivors. We must never forget the heartbreaking legacy and multi-generational impacts that the residential school system continues to have on families and communities.
All Canadians must ensure this latest truth of immeasurable loss is not forgotten by strengthening our commitment to learning the truth, finding answers and finding ways to heal. We can’t move forward without knowledge of the unfathomable pain of the past. The truth must continue to be heard, and Canada and Canadian society must recommit to implementing the Calls to Action of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.
To all those triggered by this painful discovery and those who continue to struggle with the inconceivable cost this legacy carries, we join you in the crushing grief of this moment. The Selkirk College community will continue to work together with Indigenous elders, students, staff and alumni to ensure healing is possible and better understanding is built through knowledge and compassion.
Supports in Place Locally and Provincially
Selkirk College understands how deeply this discovery impacts so many in our college community. For those affected by the deep-rooted trauma of residential schools and those triggered by this most recent tragic discovery, there are supports available at the provincial level and through Selkirk College's Indigenous Services.
- The Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066 and more information can be found here.
- A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. The 24-hour national crisis line can be accessed at 1-866-925-4419.
- Support for employees can accessed by using the 24/7 Employee and Family Assistance Plan (EFAP) through Homewood Health at 1-800-663-1142.
- Indigenous students are encouraged to connect with Leah Lychowyd, counsellor for Indigenous students at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Selkirk College Counselling services can be reached through https://selkirk.ca/counselling-services
- Indigenous Services will lead an honouring and healing ceremony for Indigenous students and staff on Wednesday evening.