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Statement on Kamloops Residential School and National Indigenous History Month

PREVNet is located at Queen’s University, situated on traditional Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory. As settlers, we are grateful for the opportunity to meet, work, and play here, and we thank the generations of Indigenous peoples who have taken care of this land since time immemorial.

PREVNet is deeply saddened by the discovery of a mass grave of 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

We acknowledge the indescribable loss faced by families whose children were forcibly taken from them, and we honour the children who were stolen from their families and from the world. We are holding space in our hearts for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and for all residential school survivors. And we offer our support and solidarity to Indigenous communities across the country.

The legacy of the residential school system in Canada is one of harm, trauma, and violence that reverberates to this day. These historical and present-day injustices continue to affect Indigenous communities and the lives of children and youth who face systemic racism and oppression, resulting in barriers, inequities, and higher risks of bullying, harassment, and violence.

It is National Indigenous History Month. It is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. It is also a time to recognize Canada’s colonial history and the issues and realities Indigenous people still face today.

This is an opportunity for reflection, education, and (most importantly) for action. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action remain unfulfilled. It is our responsibility to listen, to learn, and to act to ensure the rights of Indigenous people are recognized and implemented. It is our responsibility to read the TRC’s report and think about how we can implement the Calls to Action in our own lives. And it is our collective responsibility to urge decision-makers in every level of government to accept responsibility for the process of reconciliation and move forward implementation on the TRC’s Calls to Action.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission Reports
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) makes available digital copies of important and relevant reports for Survivors and their families, researchers, media, and the public. Find them here.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066 24-hour. Their national crisis line is 1-866-925-4419.

KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Alternatively, individuals can call direct into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050.