Like many in our community and throughout BC, Canada, and the world, we are still coming to terms with the reality of the horrific discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Residential School site in Kamloops. At least 215 stolen lives ended at that school, and while this discovery is a physical manifestation of the horrible crimes committed at these residential schools, that number does not account for the lives lost at other schools and the generations of trauma afflicted on Indigenous people throughout Canada.
As the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District, we know we still have a long way to go on our reconciliation journey. This collective journey speaks to the truth of the residential school system as a mechanism of genocide against Indigenous peoples across Canada, and takes that knowledge and uses it as a force for change in our communities today.
While we will be marking this horrific discovery with the lowering of our school and board office flags, and the wearing of orange shirts, we want to ensure that concrete action is taken to ensure the memory of these 215 children will be a catalyst for change. We are proud of the work that our schools and teachers are doing to ensure this news is discussed and acted upon in an age-appropriate way in schools throughout the district.
It is up to us to commit to understanding the truth about the Residential School System and its role in Canada’s history and work at addressing systemic racism in all its forms.
- Candace Spilsbury, Chair of the Board of Education for the Cowichan Valley School District