On May 27th, the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered in an unmarked grave on the grounds of the Kamloops (Tk’emlups) Residential School in British Columbia. This devastating discovery confirms the oral histories of elders and survivors and has resurfaced grief and trauma across Canada.
Under the residential school system, seven generations of Indigenous children were removed from their families and communities and confined in government-sponsored religious schools designed to educate the “Indian” out of them. The purpose of the schools was to eliminate all aspects of Indigenous culture and language by assimilating Indigenous children into a completely new and westernized way of life. In addition to experiencing physical, sexual, spiritual, and emotional abuse and inhumane living conditions, it’s estimated that thousands of children who attended these schools between 1831 and 1996 never returned home. At least five generations of Indigenous people continue to feel the impacts of intergenerational trauma.
An organization called Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries has compiled a number of online resources for Indigenous History Month, that enable us to take time to educate ourselves, advocate for justice, and pray for our Indigenous sisters and brothers.