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Kamloops Residential School

Not thoughts and prayers, but policy and action

Educators around the province have joined with the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and other First Nations communities in mourning the 215 children found in the mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School. There have been many powerful activities and lessons that have happened over the past week as educators and schools have worked to try and show our support to First Nations communities and our First Nations staff members. As educators, we are instrumental in implementing the Education for Reconciliation calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report, and are vital to supporting positive change for the future.

Disappointingly, only 10 of the 94 Calls to Action have been implemented to date. Particularly egregious in light of the discovery at KRS is the fact that #75, which would have included efforts to discover all the burial grounds on residential school grounds, was not enacted because the cost was deemed too high, leaving the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc to shoulder the burden of looking for their stolen children.

Political action beyond education of our students is needed, and some of our Intermediate colleagues have been working with their students to exert pressure on government to implement the Calls to Action by writing letters to various politicians. The immediate implementation of Call to Action 75 is one of the main focuses, but this might be a good time to review all 94 of the recommendations. Students may want to choose a different recommendation to advocate for. This might also be an excellent activity to participate in for September, in preparation for Orange Shirt Day on September 30th.

Links:
Truth and Reconciliation Committee: Calls to Action document
Find Contact Information: Federal Ministers
Find Contact Information: Provincial Ministers

Other Resources
College Pension Plan Website
Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA)
The Tyee