This is a reprint of a CMHC-Granville Island memo sent on June 3 to the Granville Island tenants and community:
CMHC-Granville Island staff have been grappling with last Friday’s news about the 215 Indigenous children found buried at the Kamloops Residential School site. This school operated as a residential school from 1890 to 1969, and was then turned into a day school until finally closing in 1978. The building still stands and is located on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.
It is not easy to come to grips with the magnitude of sorrow and trauma that this news brings to First Nations people all across Canada. We are heart-broken by this discovery, and we also acknowledge that the history of residential schools in Canada includes countless other tragic injustices perpetrated against Indigenous children and their families. We further understand that meaningful Reconciliation includes acknowledging the historical and present intergenerational trauma of Colonization, but also of taking concrete steps and action. While we fly our flags at half-mast on Granville Island in solidarity with First Nations people, Granville Island staff are also being offered decolonizing, indigenization, and reconciliation training through Mi tel’nexw Leadership Society. CMHC-Granville Island staff and Council are committed to action in redressing the trauma of colonization, and will be taking many more steps towards this process in the future.
June is Indigenous History Month. Residential schools are a dark, tragic and real part of the history of this country we now call Canada, and they continue to impact Indigenous people today. It is essential that we acknowledge what happened, that we remember it, that we speak about it, and that we actively reflect on the roles each of us plays in countering this despicable system.
Those looking to learn more about the impact of Residential Schools, missing Indigenous children and unmarked burials may want to begin by reading Volume 4 of the Truth and Reconciliation Report.
Specific culturally safe crisis lines are available 24/7:
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society – 1-866-925-4419
- KUU-US Crisis Line Society – 250-723-4050