President Steenkamp: The way forward is to listen

About a week ago, we all learned about the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We also learned that many Indigenous people believe it is likely many more children are buried on the sites of other such schools.

The days since that grim discovery have been marked by unimaginable grief and trauma amongst Indigenous Peoples and the rest of Canada.

This time has showed that some voices need to be heard loudly so that this nation can come to terms with a horrific part of its history. The way forward is to listen.

• “We call upon Canada, and all of those who call yourselves Canadians, to witness and recognize the truth of our collective history,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.

• “To the Prime Minister of Canada and all federal parties, we acknowledge your gestures, but as a community who is burdened with the legacy of a federally mandated Indian Residential School, Canada must face ownership and accountability to Tkemlúps te Secwépemc as well as all communities and families,” said Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir, chief of Tkemlúps te Secwépemc.

• And Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said: “I encourage every single person in Canada to stand with First Nations as we press forward for action to ensure our children are returned to their people to finally receive the respect and dignity not provided to them in life.”

At Royal Roads, we stand with Indigenous Peoples.

Information and support

Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society:

For Indigenous people struggling with trauma: Kuu-Us Crisis Line

  • ADULTS: 250-723-4050
  • YOUTH: 250-723-2040
  • TOLL-FREE: 1-800-588-8717