We are deeply saddened and distressed by the discovery of an unmarked burial site at the Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc territory. There is an urgent path ahead to honour these Indigenous children and their families, and all Indigenous communities that endure colonial violence.
Please join us in pressing the federal government to address Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report: to provide required resources, and to work with Indigenous Nations to identify all cemeteries, residential school sites, and unmarked graves in Canada.
Below is our letter to North Vancouver Minister of Parliament Jonathan Wilkinson as well as contacts for Lower Mainland Members of Parliament.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
310 Esplanade E Suite 201
North Vancouver, British Columbia
June 3, 2021
Dear Minister Wilkinson,
The news last week of the discovery of a mass burial site on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves, is something that, as a Canadian citizen and director of a cultural institution situated on the unceded territories of the Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xwməθkwəýəm (Musqueam) Nations, I was aggrieved and saddened to read. What is deeply upsetting is the understanding that this discovery is not singular, and that it represents one of many such sites across Canada, a legacy of the terrible and irrevocable history of the residential school program, one of which—St. Paul’s Residential School—was located in North Vancouver.
The truth of these sites must be understood and told. I appreciate Prime Minister Trudeau’s words that your government will support the necessary work toward this, and I am writing today to lend my voice to the calls for concrete action. I ask the Federal Government to support the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, that the Government provide required resources, and that it work with Indigenous Nations to identify all cemeteries, residential school sites and unmarked graves.
Thank you for your consideration and your ongoing work in our constituency.
Lower Mainland Members of Parliament
West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast—Sea to Sky Country