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Flags Across The Municipality Lowered to Half-Staff In Honour Of 215 Children Found In Mass Grave At Former Residential School

KAWARTHA LAKES-Flags at City Hall and Municipal Service Centres across the municipality are being lowered today in honour of the 215 children whose remains were found at the former Kamloops residential school in British Columbia.

Last week, a mass grave was discovered with the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation territory.

“Today we mourn the lives of these children, and the lives of all others who never made it home from school. On behalf of Council and the entire municipality, we send condolences to the survivors and their families. We lower our flags as a sign of our sympathy and respect for the victims,” commented Mayor Letham.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, issued the following statement on Friday:

“The mistreatment of Indigenous children is a tragic and shameful part of Canada’s history. Residential schools were part of a colonial policy that removed Indigenous children from their communities. Thousands of children were sent to these schools and never returned to their families. The families were often provided with little to no information on the circumstances of their loved one’s death nor the location of their burial. Children in residential schools were forbidden to speak their language and practice their own culture. The loss of children who attended residential schools is unthinkable and Canada remains resolved to supporting families, Survivors and communities and to memorializing those lost innocent souls.

Yesterday’s news of the discovery of 215 bodies found in the area around the Kamloops Indian Residential School is once again a reminder of the harms families and Survivors have suffered and continue to suffer. We are profoundly saddened by this discovery and our thoughts are with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, as well as with all Indigenous communities across Canada. We are working with the community and our partners, such as the BC First Nations Health Authority, to provide resources and the support needed as determined by the community. For immediate assistance to those who may need it, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was established to find the truth in our country’s dark and painful history of residential schools. Their 94 Calls to Action are an appeal to mobilize all levels of government, organizations and individuals to make concrete changes in society. They list specific actions to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was established and is now responsible for the Student Death Registries. Since Budget 2019, we have been engaging with Indigenous communities impacted by residential schools on how best to proceed with implementing Calls to Action 72 to 76. We have listened and are ensuring that the approaches taken moving forward are Indigenous-led, community-based, Survivor-centric and culturally sensitive.

The TRC revealed the heartbreaking details of the role that residential schools played in the history of Canada and the tragic legacy that continues today. It is said that once you know the truth, you cannot un-know it. Yesterday’s discovery reflects a dark and painful chapter in our country’s history. We remain committed to supporting Survivors, their families and communities through their healing journeys.”

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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