Content Warning: Abuse and death in Residential Schools in Canada
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been established to support former students and those affected. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866 925-4419.
As many of our community members are likely aware, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation recently discovered the remains of 215 children in a reported mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The Nine Circles Board, Management and Staff want to express our deep condolences to the members of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all of their relatives. We honour the lives of these children, those who survived residential school, and the many children yet to be found. This discovery is yet another example of Canada’s brutal colonial history and the continued lasting impacts on Indigenous communities. It is undeniable evidence of genocide.
This was one school. In total, over 130 residential schools operated in Canada between 1831 and 1996. We highlight and stand with our allies in an urgent call that the federal government immediately work with all levels of governments, churches, Indigenous communities, former residential school survivors, and current landowners to develop and implement strategies and procedures for the ongoing identification, documentation, maintenance, commemoration, and protection of residential school cemeteries or other sites where residential school children are buried. Specifically, implement the Call to Action #75 and provide the appropriate memorial ceremonies and commemorative markers to honour the deceased children.
The genocide of Indigenous peoples continues to this day. In our work at Nine Circles on Treaty One Territory, we can clearly see how the HIV and hepatitis C epidemics and the overdose crisis disproportionately impacts Indigenous peoples in Canada. The reasons for this are rooted in colonization, including the legacy of residential schools and the racism that continues against First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.
We encourage all of our members and followers to read and reflect on the Calls to Action released by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the Calls for Justice released through the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and other Indigenous works. Consider what you can do to come to terms with the past events and the present to establish respectful relationships among non-Indigenous and Indigenous peoples.
Nine Circles acknowledges our privilege and role in the systems of colonization and the work we have to do to dismantle them. Nine Circles commits to promoting reconciliation in its thinking and actions and using its influence and leadership to promote these values to the communities we serve.