Statement on the Kamloops Indian Residential School Discovery

May 31, 2021

Residential schools were part of a colonial policy that removed Indigenous children from their communities between the 1870s and 1996. 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 Federated Women’s Institutes of Ontario and the Erland Lee (Museum) Home are profoundly saddened by the discovery of 215 children’s bodies found in the area around the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Our thoughts are with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, as well as with all Indigenous communities across Canada.

If you would like to learn more about the history of Residential Schools in Canada, find out how you can offer support to those who have been affected by the Residential School system, participate in calls to action, or expand your knowledge of Indigenous cultures, please feel free to read the following resources:

·        The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: https://nctr.ca/

·        The National Enquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: https://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/

·        Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres: https://ofifc.org/

·        Free online course offered by the University of Alberta on Indigenous Relations: https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html