This week marks one year since the world learned of the tragic news about the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. Since then, with remains confirmed and being investigated at other former residential school sites, an awakening has dawned across this country.
We have woken up and heard the truth; we have woken up and witnessed the shared pain. We have woken to the intergenerational trauma that continues to reverberate throughout First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.
As a symbol of our collective grief, all flags at schools and District sites will be flown at half-mast as a show of respects to the children of the former residential schools. We stand in continued commitment to the ongoing reconciliation work that is necessary for the truth to be known and shared through education.
As we learn and relearn the truth about these realities, we are reminded of the myriad of lasting negative impact of residential schools on Indigenous communities. We are also mindful that as we stop and reflect to express our sorrow we must also support those directly impacted by these and other acts of genocide. We also recognize that there is a need to care and be cared for. It is not enough to offer condolences and support. That is why, additional supports will be in place for to students, their families and staff at this time. We urge anyone who would feels these supports would be helpful to them, to reach out to their counsellors, school administrator, Indigenous Education department team member or their manager. Support and assistance is also available through other resources listed below.
As we mark this tragic period in history – one that represents untold numbers of tragedies – we hope healing and love guide the path forward toward true reconciliation.
The following is a list of resources and hotlines dedicated to supporting Indigenous people:
- KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
- Indian Residential School Survivors and Family: 1-800-721-0066
Mon – Fri: 8am – 8pm and Weekends: 10am – 2pm
- Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society Substance Abuse and Trauma Treatment Centre: 250-390-3123
- Aboriginal Wellness Program: 604-675-2551 or 1-866-884-0888
- Canadian Mental Health Association: 1-800-555-8222
- HeretoHelp: 1-800-661-2121
- First Nations Health Authority – Mental Health Benefit: https://www.fnha.ca/benefits/mental-health
- Métis Nation BC – Mental Health Services: https://www.mnbc.ca/mnbc-ministries/mental-health/
National Crisis Hotlines
- Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
- Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310