This message contains sensitive content and could be triggering. For crisis support here in BC please contact the KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 or visit the First Nations Mental Health and Wellness Support page for additional support services. A complete listing of support services is included at the end of this statement.
Coast Salish Territory – Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the Secwépemc Nation’s announcement on the discovery of unmarked graves on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site. While this reality was spoken about in the community, the confirmation of their oral history regarding their Le Estcwicwe̓y̓ (the missing) children who attended the residential school has had a national and international impact. These 215 children were beloved family and community members; they will never be forgotten.
Over the past year, the leadership of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc for all First Nation people in the ongoing legacy of the residential school system has been clearly evident. The discovery by Secwépemc has led to greater investigations across Canada to find more missing children at former residential school sites, including making use of ground-penetrating radar. The Tk’emlúps invitation to the Vatican and apology from Pope Francis were significant steps in working forward.
We support the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community and all BC First Nations as they continue to heal through the culture and ceremonies that were taken away by the residential school system.
FNHA recognizes that this one-year anniversary may be difficult, as the healing of trauma from losing community members is a work in progress. We encourage everyone to take care of their mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness during this challenging time. If you require support, please see the resource list below.
Colleen Erickson, Board Chair, FNHA
“We honor and acknowledge the hard work of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people as they continue to be the keepers of this sacred site. The residential school system and findings such as these continue to impact BC First Nations, Canada, and the World. The FNHA is committed to working with our community members to heal from our shared history and work toward building healthy, self-determining, and vibrant BC First Nations children, families, and communities. ”
Richard Jock, CEO, FNHA
“The FNHA continues to stand alongside the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community and the members who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School as they continue on their healing journey. The impact and legacy of the Residential School system have resulted in intergenerational trauma and negatively impacted our health and wellness. FNHA recognizes the intergenerational resilience of our people as we continue to heal from the significant impacts of colonization and the need to develop additional pathways to address trauma. “
Wade Grant, Chair, FNHC
“We continue to rely upon our strength and teachings of our ancestors as we support those in the Secwépemc Nation and across Canada who continue to grapple with the inter-generational trauma associated with Indian residential institutions. Healing and recovery are part of everyday lived experience for First Nations people, and this anniversary reminds us of the need for trauma-informed and culturally-relevant care in mental health and wellness for First Nations people.”
Keith Marshall, President, FNHDA
“We acknowledge and honour the courage of all those who have done the discovery work in the Secwépemc Nation. From addressing the legacy of residential institutions to confronting racism in health care, our collective work continues as First Nations in BC and others working to achieve human rights and freedoms in all our institutions.”
Wellness and Cultural Supports:
FNHA’s Mental Health and Wellness Supports page: Mental Health and Wellness Supports (fnha.ca)
Tsow Tun Le Lum: Call toll-free 1-888-403-3123 or visit www.tsowtunlelum.org
KUU-US Crisis Line Society: a 24-hour provincial Indigenous crisis line. Adults and Elders call 250-723-4050; Children and Youth call 250-723-2040. Toll-free 1-800-588-8717. Learn more at www.kuu-uscrisisline.com
Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS): Call toll-free 1-800-721-0066 or visit www.irsss.ca