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In honour of the 215 children found at the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation - and all those who are still out there

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From the First Nations Health Authority:
"Indian Residential Schools did tremendous harm to First Nations in Canada. Helping people heal from the damage is critically important for individuals, families, communities and Nations. The consequences of the abuse suffered in these schools continues to have an intergenerational effect – essentially, the harm caused to students affects First Nations families and communities over generations."

The discovery of the graves of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops made national news this weekend, as it should. However, for many Indigenous peoples and communities, unmarked burial sites, mass graves, and missing children is something they have known about for generations. These are histories shared across generations. Memories of aunts, uncles, mothers, fathers, grandparents, siblings. Whispers of what Indigenous peoples have endured are lingering reminders of an injustice that continues to play out. These injustices were lived personally by too many victims to fathom.

Their trauma is not some relic of the past. The experiences of the survivors of the Residential Schools and their descendants must take up a bigger part of the national conversation. The open sercrets shared in Indigenous communities can no longer be news to the rest of the country. They are a part of our shared history and painful, enduring legacy of colonial violence. We honour the lives of the 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops Residential School.

This is a tragedy on a national scale. We need to mourn, we need to learn, we need to do better. But we also need to act, and for leaders from coast-to-coast-to-coast to properly address the lasting impacts of a history symbolized by the lives of 215 Indigenous children.