The news coming out of Kamloops this week has deeply saddened all people from across our country. Many from our SD71 community have reached out to ask how we can respond and honour the lives of at least 215 Indigenous children cut short while living at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
What can we do now?
- All SD71 schools will have their flags flown at half-mast.
- Stand with our grieving friends, relatives, community members and staff as the news will continue to evolve as investigations continue. Many of our Indigenous families will be affected directly or indirectly as news is shared out. Be patient and give space to those who will be grieving.
- Attend the vigil on Monday late afternoon at Simms Park – https://www.mycomoxvalleynow.com/78428/virgil-in-simms-park-monday-to-honour-first-nations-children/
- Wear orange this week.
- Look for updates from Indigenous organizations on ways we can support the grieving and healing process.
Be familiar with the supports available. The following is a list of resources and hotlines dedicated to supporting Indigenous people.
- Each of us will be working through this tragedy in our own way. Our provincial partner Safer Schools Together has put together a Guidelines for parents document that you may find helpful with regards to recognizing trauma and helping your children who may be having some difficulty with this topic.
- The national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line 1-866-925-4419.
- KUU-US Crisis Line 1-800-588-8717
- Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society 1-888-403-3123
- Aboriginal Wellness Program 604-675-2551 or 1-866-884-0888
- Canadian Mental Health Association – British Columbia Division 1-800-555-8222
- HeretoHelp 1-800-661-2121
- First Nations Health Authority – Mental Health Benefit https://www.fnha.ca/benefits/mental-health
- Métis Nation BC – Mental Health Services https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/mental-health-substance-use/resources/kuu-us-crisis-line
- Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868
- Crisis Services Canada 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line 1-855-242-3310
- Access to our SD71 Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP).
What can we do?
- All Canadians need to be familiar and accountable to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action, to the Recommendations from the MMIWG (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls) National Inquiry, to UNDRIP (United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples) and to DRIPA (B.C. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act).
How can you learn more?
- Overview and interview at end of article with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir
Remains of 215 children found buried at former B.C. residential school, First Nation says | CBC News
- Our SD71 Indigenous Education Site (Orange Shirt Day)
- First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) resources
- BC Teachers Federation (BCTF)
Project of Heart – https://bctf.ca/HiddenHistory/eBook.pdf
Gladys We Never Knew – https://bctf.ca/uploadedFiles/Public/AboriginalEd/GladysResource/eBook.pdf