Reclaiming the children

Like many this week, I’ve been gutted by the news of the 215 unmarked graves discovered at a Kamloops residential school. The experts believe that Indigenous children as young as three are buried there. Children who were taken from their families, neglected, abused, and then hidden from history.

It must have been a small group of massively determined people in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation who — despite the government’s denial of funding and despite the lack of public attention — refused to rest until the children were found. That kind of commitment is what shifts the world. Indeed, the federal government today pledged to support efforts to search other residential school grounds.

In an ideal world, the activism shown by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation wouldn’t be necessary. But in our far-from-ideal world, I’m grateful for their work.

If you’re discussing the news with your students or your children, look to this book list by David A. Robertson for resources. There are also recommendations on 49th Kids.

You can donate to support residential school survivors here. And survivors who need support are encouraged to call the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

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