In the wake of the news that 215 Indigenous children’s bodies were discovered in an undocumented burial site near the Kamloops Indian Residential School, we were moved to using our platform to state unequivocally that the actions of the Canadian government are wrong. The residential school system was a brutal, genocidal institution with the express purpose of ethnically cleansing Indigenous Peoples. Moreover, this is not just history as Canadian systems continue to perpetuate racial inequalities our Indigenous relatives are subjected to.
Our statement follows.
RE: The Kamloops Indian Residential School
June 1, 2021
The altView Foundation joins with our relatives across Turtle Island in mourning the news of 215 bodies of Indigenous children found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. These children, as young as three, were torn from families, community, and culture to be reeducated in a genocidal program that sought to forcibly assimilate Indigenous People into colonial Canada. This discovery adds to the over 4100 youth and children confirmed to have died in the residential school system from 1976 to 1996. Many more, like these children, are estimated to have died and those deaths undocumented.
The abuse, neglect, and inadequate living conditions in the residential school system compounded the cruelty and racism in tearing children from their families. Even more than the lives lost are the consequences for survivors, who struggle with PTSD and mental health affects to this day, and communities, which were systematically torn apart. The truth of residential schools cannot be forgotten because the consequences themselves are not just of the past, the consequences reverberate even today. Indigenous People have made incredible strides in overcoming the traumas inflicted upon them by systems like residential schools, and the news of the discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School serves as a reminder of wounds not fully healed.
Our organization mourns in solidarity with our relatives, our hearts are with you all. It is a shallow comfort that these little ones may now be returned to their communities after too many years. May these 215 children and the untold others like them all find rest where they belong, and may their tragic loss never be forgotten.
Executive Director The altView Foundation for Gender Variant and Sexual Minorities