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Community Statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School

We want to acknowledge and offer our condolences to the Indigenous families and community in Kamloops and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. An announcement on Thursday May 27, 2021 brought news of the existence of an unmarked mass grave on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School located in Kamloops, British Columbia. The remains of two hundred fifteen children of various ages were found there in Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory.

May 31, 2021

We want to acknowledge and offer our condolences to the Indigenous families and community in Kamloops and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. An announcement on Thursday May 27, 2021 brought news of the existence of an unmarked mass grave on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School located in Kamloops, British Columbia.  The remains of two hundred fifteen children of various ages were found there in Tk’emlups te Secwepemc territory.

The residential school system is a tragic history that we often talk about in the halls of the University. This announcement however, brings the truth of these places to a much more personal and devastating reality. The residential school system was ongoing from the 1820’s to as recently as 1996. This is not just a distant tragic history; rather, it is a shared history with all of Canada with a contemporary, inter-generational impact. It is one more truth of the atrocities of the residential school system.

The McMaster Indigenous community of students, staff and faculty are all deeply saddened by this news but we are not alone. To honour the 215 in Kamloops, we all need to acknowledge both the loss and the truth and continue the path we are forging together. That path requires us to continue a truthful and open dialogue about the past, present and future of Indigenous people in Canada.  Our shared goal to create  positive change requires us to also take action.

We want to acknowledge and offer our condolences to Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. As Indigenous people, we collectively mourn with you, share your grief, and offer our love and condolences. We see you, and your children are in our hearts.

As we strive to support and hold each other up, please reach out for support if you need to. Support services can be contacted at:

Indigenous Wellness Counsellor, Indigenous Student Services (nusseya@mcmaster.ca) – for students

Elder-in-Residence, Indigenous Student Services (indigsc@mcmaster.ca)

Hope for Wellness Help Line, 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca

Add your name to our open letter here.