May 31, 2021
UCalgary statement on discovery of 215 Indigenous children buried outside Kamloops residential school
Last week it was confirmed that 215 Indigenous children were buried outside of a residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. My heart goes out to anybody suffering with this news, the fresh wounds it creates and the old wounds it reopens.
Children were buried en masse in a place that masqueraded as a schoolyard. Their lives were taken from them and their loved ones, from the communities they were torn from — communities that cared for them, communities that mourn them still.
Let us keep these children and the potential they had in our hearts.
Let us renew our commitment to support the families and communities they left behind.
And let us never forget the dark legacy of the residential school system.
As a university community, we have expressed our commitment to Indigenous engagement and reconciliation. Let us take this time to reflect upon the actions we can all take to address the hurdles and barriers to reconciliation. Let us act on our commitment by learning the hidden histories, the Indigenous cultures beside us, and ways to walk supportively beside Indigenous peoples on our parallel paths.
Both as individuals and as a university, we must continue to learn, to act and to grow if we wish to walk side by side forward in a better way.
Let us never forget these children.
President and Vice-Chancellor
- Photo above: Vigil at Alberta Legislature honours 215 children at Kamloops Indian Residential School whose remains were recently discovered. Photo by Mac Male published on Flickr under Creative Commons Licence
The First Nations Health Authority operates a 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line to provide support for former students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available in English and French by calling 1-866-925-4419.
Supports are also available to members of the university community through University of Calgary Student Wellness Services and Staff Wellness.