This article discusses topics that may be upsetting and triggering to residential school survivors and their families. If you or someone you know needs support, please call the 24/7 Residential School Survivor Support Line for survivors & their families: 1-866-925-4419
In 2012 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its Calls to Action. These 94 calls to action address the ongoing impact of residential schools on survivors and their families and provide a path forward for governments and Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Six (71-76) of these calls to action relate to the tragedy of missing Indigenous children and a lack of information on their burial locations.
These calls to action were released nine years ago. Nine years before the unmarked graves of 215 children were found on the ground of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.
Six years ago, in 2015, the TRC released a report titled Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.’ The report expanded on the Calls to Action:
“These findings are in keeping with statements that former students and the parents of former students gave to the Commission. They spoke of children who went to school and never returned. The tragedy of the loss of children was compounded by the fact that burial places were distant or even unknown. Many Aboriginal people have unanswered questions about what happened to their children or relatives while they were attending residential school. The work that the Commission has begun in identifying and commemorating those students who died at school and their gravesites needs to be finished.”
In 2019 the Canadian government budgeted money to develop and maintain the National Residential School Student Death Register. Losing these children and those like them is a national tragedy. Our hearts go out to their families, friends, and communities. Our hope is that we will implement all TRC’s Calls to Actions, especially 71-76, and find all the other children as quickly and respectful as possible.
Again, please, if you or someone you know needs support, please call the 24/7 Residential School Survivor Support Line for survivors & their families: 1-866-925-4419
This article was featured in the CIER Summer 2021 Newsletter. Sign up for future newsletters here.