The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation shared on Thursday that the undocumented remains of 215 Indigenous children were uncovered at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
Flags have been lowered at all Georgian campuses for 215 hours – or nine days – in memory of these children.
Our hearts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and all communities affected, residential school Survivors, and Indigenous Peoples everywhere – including Indigenous students, faculty and staff at Georgian College.
As a college community, we grieve deeply as we reflect on what this tragic discovery means to us individually, collectively and as a nation. This is a time to share with each other, to listen and to offer support.
Georgian recognizes the ongoing devastation of the Canadian residential school system. “Every Child Matters” and it’s important we witness and honour the healing journey of residential school Survivors and their families. We all have a responsibility to do the personal work to learn more about, advocate for and reconcile with Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.
As I shared with you earlier this year, Georgian is on a journey to make our college a more inclusive place where everyone feels seen, heard and knows they belong. We continue to stand together as a community as we create a new way forward. Part of this journey includes our commitment to enriching our community with Indigenous culture, knowledge, values and an authentic history.
If you wish to talk to someone about your experiences or grief, please know you’re not alone. This is a difficult time and supports are available. I encourage you to visit the student or employee portals, and our Georgian website, for more information. If you’re a Survivor or a descendant of a Survivor and need emotional support, a 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support at 1.866.925.4419.
Stay safe, be well and choose kindness.
Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes, President and CEO