Administrator’s Note: On Sunday, May 30, 2021, we lowered the flags at Burlington City Hall to honour the 215 children found in a mass grave at a residential school in Kamploops. Flags will stay down for one hour for every child whose life was taken — nine days. I have also added my voice for a national day of mourning. Please click here to read a statement from Chief Stacey Laforme of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
I am devastated and heartbroken to hear about the recent uncovering of the mass grave of 215 children at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia. These children were taken away from their families, subjected to horrible conditions, unacceptable treatment and were never able to return to their loved ones.
We cannot begin to imagine the grief the Indigenous communities and families are experiencing with this news. The City of Burlington joins you in mourning this tragic loss.
The fact this discovery was made so close to the start of National Indigenous History Month in June stresses how crucial that these children’s stories and others like them are told — the importance of learning the complete history of Canada’s treatment of Indigenous children cannot be dismissed. In order to work towards reconciliation and to help in the healing process, it is incumbent on Canadians to listen and learn. Listen to the survivors and learn about Canada’s true history; it won’t be easy, but it is necessary. Through learning about residential schools, the conditions that surrounded them and Canada’s treatment of Indigenous people, we will be able to move forward and work towards meeting the Calls to Action so that Canada can truly be a country where everyone feels safe, accepted and can thrive.
My heart goes out to the families of these children, all those grieving and in mourning in the community, and to the survivors of the Kamloops Residential School and all residential school survivors. We have so much work to move towards reconciliation, but we must take action now and address Canada’s residential school legacy.
To Canada’s residential school survivors, and to our local Indigenous residents, we are listening and we recognize the injustice. I call upon all levels of government to take the necessary steps to recognize these 215 children and review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action. By doing so, we can truly honour all the Indigenous peoples who are a part of the legacy of residential schools.