Posted: May 31, 2021
Letter from the Offices of the Board of Education and Superintendent
May 31, 2021
RE: Kamloops Indian Residential School
Dear NLPS families,
Today, we are all feeling tremendous sorrow and pain for the 215 unnamed children discovered buried on the former grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
In honour of those children who were taken from their homes and their families who did not have a chance to say goodbye, the district has lowered its flags to half mast. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and its neighbouring communities.
This deeply disturbing discovery is a reminder of Canada’s dark history that continues to affect Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities alike. The Kamloops site was but one of over 130 residential schools that were found from coast to coast. An estimated 150,000 First Nation, Inuit and Métis children attended residential schools since the late 1800s until the last school closed in 1996.
This morning, Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief Administrative Officer Joan Brown shared a message of compassion, generosity of spirit and hope:
Gratitude that the children were found; Gratitude that the children will return home, and Gratitude that we now walk together for truth and reconciliation. Our schools no longer represent that pain and oppression but are places of hope and healing. History will not repeat itself.
Staff and students may be seen wearing the colour orange this week in honour of all Indigenous children who attended Indian Residential Schools and suffered immeasurably.
Reading about the events unfolding in Kamloops will be traumatizing for many members of our community. Our thoughts, prayers and condolences are with the families and the community.
We offer the following information that may benefit you and your child while having these difficult conversations at home:
- A history of the Residential School System (UBC Indigenous Foundation)
- The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is 1-866-925-4419.
- Letter from Safer School Together and the North American Center for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.
- Guidelines for families to support children through times of grief during and after a traumatic event.
As we reflect on this somber news, we acknowledge that June is National Indigenous Month. We as a community, a province and a country must continue to promote healing and support for all of the Indian Residential School survivors, families and their communities not only this month but each and every day.