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West Coast Environmental Law statement on children’s remains found at Kamloops Residential School

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories / Vancouver, BC - 

West Coast Environmental Law is heartbroken over the remains of 215 children confirmed buried* at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Secwépemc Nation territory, Secwepemcúĺecw. We mourn with the families and communities of these children and all residential school survivors, including survivors of intergenerational trauma caused by residential schools and other genocidal Canadian policies.

We bear witness today to this painful truth about our collective history and its legacy, which continues to the present day.

We honour the children, the many Indigenous nations to whom they have been lost for so many years, and all those who are working to bring their spirits home.

We call on both the federal and provincial governments to act immediately to implement all of the Calls to Action put forward by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to properly honour the lives of these 215 children and countless others affected by colonial violence.

We acknowledge our ongoing responsibility to align our work as a non-profit environmental organization, and our words and actions as individuals, with our commitment to Indigenous self-determination and the redress of harms inflicted upon Indigenous peoples.

For those impacted looking for emotional support, please contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) on their toll-free line: 1-800-721-0066, 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419, KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717 or Tsow-Tun-Le Lum: 1-866-925-4419. And for settlers looking to support their critical work at this time, please donate directly through the IRSSS website at: https://www.irsss.ca/ 

*We have made this correction (from “West Coast Environmental Law is heartbroken over the devastating discovery of the remains of 215 children at....” to “West Coast Environmental Law is heartbroken over the remains of 215 children confirmed buried...”) to acknowledge that survivors and their families have said for decades that there are undocumented graves of children at former residential school sites across the country. We believe survivors.