The discovery of 215 children’s remains in a mass grave at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. is “devastating news” that leaves all Indigenous people across Canada “heartbroken and grieving” with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation community, Premier Joe Savikataaq said in a statement released Sunday afternoon.

The Government of Nunavut will lower its flags to half-mast for nine days, marking 215 hours in honour of the 215 children who perished – “in remembrance of these beautiful souls, taken, disregarded and dishonoured by a system meant to break them,” said Savikataaq.

“The legacy of Canada’s residential schools is one of deep intergenerational trauma, rooted in attempted cultural genocide and assimilation,” the Premier said. “This isn’t simply a dark chapter in Canadian history, it continues to be a very painful reality for all First Nations, Inuit and Metis. In order to move forward, all Canadians must face these horrors, learn the truth, demand justice and work toward meaningful reconciliation on our terms.”

Savikataaq added that, on behalf of all Nunavummiut, he sends love and support to the families of the victims and to all survivors and those affected by residential schools.

“We stand together, unwavering in our cultures and languages, determined to heal,” he said.

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  1. One might want to consider atrocities as having ‘happened long ago’ and believe that, or therefore, humanity could/would not permit them to happen again, in much more modern times. I, however, doubt that is the way large-scale societies — let alone border-segregated, independent nations — necessarily behave as wholes.

    After 34 years of news consumption, I’ve noticed that a disturbingly large number of categorized people, however precious their souls, can be considered thus treated as though disposable, even to an otherwise democratic nation. When the young children of those people take notice of this, tragically, they’re vulnerable to begin perceiving themselves as beings without value. When I say this, I primarily have in mind indigenous-nation (and Black) Canadians and Americans. But I know it happens worldwide.

    While their inhumane devaluation as people is basically based on race, it still somewhat reminds me of an external devaluation, albeit a subconscious one, of the daily civilian lives lost in protractedly devastating war zones and heavily armed sieges. They can eventually receive meagre column inches on the back page in the First World’s daily news. (To the newspaper owners/editors, of course, it’s ‘just the news business and nothing personal’.)

  2. This is heartbreaking! Genocide, there is no other word for this action, a crime against humanity. It is unfortunate that most Canadians and especially newcomers do not have knowledge about the history of Indigenous people in this country, all was not on a equal playing field and remains so today. While apartheid is South Africa was being addressed by Canadians we hid our own “dirty laundry.” Residential schools 1830s to 1996 and an apology in 2008, it took how many Prime Ministers of Canada to acknowledge this act of injustice. My heart is silent as this event presents itself to the world, may the survivors find solitude and strength to continue to speak their truth.

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