Residential School Tragedy

Photo Kamloops Residential School

The discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is disturbing but not surprising. Through the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), we as Mennonites have learned about the devastating impact the residential schools had on Indigenous children and their parents and continues to have for the next generations. The discovery of children who died at the Kamloops school and, therefore, were never able to come home again or to be buried and grieved by their families is heartbreaking. As a church community we grieve together with all the families and all those who have been impacted by the news of these deaths. We pray for all those who have memories and scars from their time in residential schools and for those who have been retraumatized by this discovery.

​Given the 'Calls to Action' that came out of the TRC we not only want to pray but also act in ways that can move in the direction of healing and reconciliation. We especially think of Calls to Action 48, 49, 59, 61 that call for education as well as financial and other meaningful ways in which practical help and reconciliation can be engaged. Further, given these findings it is even more imperative that our government move forward with acting on the Calls to Action 71-76 which address these situations.

Some actions we invite you to consider:

  • Read the reports (including Calls to Action) issued by the TRC.
  • Wear an orange shirt this week in remembrance of these children as well as on September 30th (​​).
  • Encourage your community public buildings and school and government buildings to lower their flags to half mast this week.
  • Write a letter to your MP and the Prime Minister calling on the government to address the issues of missing children and burial information as outlined in the Calls to Action (Find your MP | contact info).
  • MCBC Indigenous Relations Task Group is looking into starting a fund to be used for healing of trauma, counselling, and the funding of ongoing reconciliation work.  This is in keeping with some of the calls to action.

​May God's grace and mercy be with all those who are grieving during this time.