Trigger Warning: This blog post discusses events that may trigger memories of personal experiences or the experiences of family and friends. Indigenous people who require emotional support can contact the 24-hour KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 or other sources of support found on the website of the First Nations Health Authority.
June 7, 2021
AS WE MOURN THE 215 CHILDREN WHOSE REMAINS WERE DETECTED at Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, here is a reminder to read the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Missing Children and Unmarked Burials
From the Executive Summary:
- The Commission has identified 3,200 deaths on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Register of Confirmed Deaths of Named Residential School Students and the Register of Confirmed Deaths of Unnamed Residential School Students.
- For just under one-third of these deaths (32%), the government and the schools did not record the name of the student who died.
- For just under one-quarter of these deaths (23%), the government and the schools did not record the gender of the student who died.
- For just under one-half of these deaths (49%), the government and the schools did not record the cause of death.
- Aboriginal children in residential schools died at a far higher rate than schoolaged children in the general population.
- For most of the history of the schools, the practice was not to send the bodies of students who died at schools to their home communities.
- For the most part, the cemeteries that the Commission documented are abandoned, disused, and vulnerable to accidental disturbance.
- The federal government never established an adequate set of standards and regulations to guarantee the health and safety of residential school students.
- The federal government never adequately enforced the minimal standards and regulations that it did establish.
- The failure to establish and enforce adequate regulations was largely a function of the government’s determination to keep residential school costs to a minimum.
- The failure to establish and enforce adequate standards, coupled with the failure to adequately fund the schools, resulted in unnecessarily high death rates at residential schools.
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We acknowledge that the land on which we work is the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.