A statement on the preliminary results of the investigation into unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

June 10, 2021
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Members of the Department of Indigenous Studies, the Indigenous Languages Program, the Department of Archaeology, the Department of History, the Department of Geography and the Department of Linguistics at Simon Fraser University are heartbroken about the preliminary results of the investigation to identify the location of unmarked graves of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. First Nations across Canada are affected by the horrifying further revelation of triggered memories among survivors, harm to innocents and attendant senses of loss, despair, and injustice.

We stand in solidarity with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, the Secwepemc Nation and other Indigenous Nations across Canada. Members of all five Departments and the Indigenous Languages Program look forward, with humility and respect, to making additional contributions to the truth and reconciliation processes required to bring peace to First Nations communities and atonement to all Canadians.

We call upon the government of Canada to respond to the findings of Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2009-2015) that reported the existence of numerous unmarked graves of children who perished while attending Indian Residential schools across the country.  We call upon Canada to respond to the TRC Calls to Action #71-76, devoted to respond to Missing Children and Burial Information.

Our hearts are with the Chief and Council, and other members of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation and all of the Indigenous communities affected by these recent investigations, as well as all of those participating in the process of uncovering unmarked graves and cemeteries at KIRS and other Residential Schools. This includes the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, with whom members of the Department of Indigenous Studies and Department of Archaeology have been working to uncover the identities of the children buried at the Brandon Indian Residential School (http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2021/06/finding-indigenous-children--the-brandon-indian-residential-scho.html).