Dozens of pairs of shoes and toys and teddy bears were placed on the Chilliwack Law Court steps on May 31, 2021 in support of the 215 bodies of children found last week in an unmarked grave at the site of an old Kamloops residential school. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)

City of Chilliwack releases statement on Kamloops Residential School burial site

Mayor Ken Popove urged citizens to reflect on the painful legacy of residential schools

The City of Chilliwack has released a statement on the discovery of 215 children’s graves on the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Mayor Ken Popove and Councillors Sue Knott, Jason Lum, Bud Mercer, Harv Westeringh, Chris Kloot and Jeff Shields acknowledged that while this discovery was made in Kamloops, Chilliwack was also once home to a residential school on the Coqualeetza grounds.

“The discovery of these children’s bodies in unmarked graves is a painful reminder of the horrors of residential schools and their devastating impact on Indigenous communities even today,” their statement read. “This trauma lives on across Canada, through residential school survivors, their families, their friends. During this time of reflection, we urge everyone to learn more about Canada’s residential schools and the lasting impacts on Indigenous communities.

“Many of us are uninvited guests that live, work and play on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the Stó:lō Coast Salish peoples. We are committed to supporting our Indigenous neighbours, addressing our contributions of harm, and finding new ways forward together.”

A National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former residential school students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.

RELATED: Stó:lō elder opens up about children found at residential school site in Kamloops

RELATED: Time to account for all child deaths at Canada’s residential schools: Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc


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eric.welsh@theprogress.com

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