CEO’s statement on the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops, B.C.
Dear ICES staff and scientists,
The discovery of the undocumented remains of 215 Indigenous children at the former residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory near Kamloops, BC, has left me dumbfounded and despairing.
This devastating and tragic news has impacted Indigenous communities, families and survivors of residential communities. I want to acknowledge the pain and grief of Indigenous members of the ICES community, who may themselves have personal connections to the traumas of Canada's residential school legacy.
We acknowledge also the lives and spirits of these 215 children and the intergenerational grief and trauma that this act of cultural genocide has caused, and the pain it continues to inflict.
To date, according to conservative estimates from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, approximately 4,100 to 6,000 children died amid abuse and neglect while in the residential school system, which ran until 1996.
We stand in solidarity with the members of our communities affected by this tragic loss.
The ICES Indigenous Portfolio team has put together some resources that may be helpful with understanding this tragic news, you can find them here.
Here are a few Indigenous crisis support lines if you or someone you know needs help:
Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society: 1-888-403-3123 (7 days a week)
Kuu-Us Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717 (24/7)
Indian Residential School Survivors and Family: 1-866-925-4419
Michael Schull MSc, MD, FRCPC