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Three Years Later: Remembering Our Little Ancestors

News Release – Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) Territory

Today, May 27, 2024, marks three years since Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc announced their search had revealed over 200 potential burial sites at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Less than one month later, Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan would announce 751 potential unmarked graves at the former Marieval Indian Residential School, followed by multiple announcements from other Nations across Turtle Island, confirming thousands of these undocumented gravesites. These findings confirmed the truths spoken for decades by the Residential School Survivors, their families and their communities, who knew all along where our little ancestors lay buried.

Three years later, these tragic confirmations, coupled with the grotesque behaviours of denialism, act as harsh reminders of the genocide inflicted upon Indigenous children, youth and their families through residential schools and other colonial systems.

The Indigenous Child & Family Services Directors Our Children Our Way Society recognizes the deep pain, sorrow, anger and grief that these announcements have brought, and will continue to bring to our relatives, to our Residential School Survivors, to the family members of the little ones who never made it home, and to those who have been impacted generationally. It is imperative that we continue to provide space for Survivors to share their truths, to be heard, and to do so in ways that nurture their spirits and cultural identities.

Each unmarked grave that has been located, and those unmarked graves yet to be identified, represents a child’s life, a family’s deep pain and anguish, and a community’s loss. This solemn anniversary is an opportunity to pause, to honor the spirits of those little ones whose lives were lost at these institutions.

It is also an opportunity to honour and hold sacred the tens of thousands of Indigenous children and youth whose lives and cultural identities have been systematically affected through the modern-day child welfare system. It is everyone’s responsibility to work to share these brutal truths, to honour the memories of these young ones, and to ensure these atrocities never happen again.

May you find time to pause, to reflect, and most importantly to take really good care of your hearts and your spirits. May these songs resonate in your heart today…

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For further comment, please contact the Our Children Our Way Society:

  • Mary Teegee, Chair – Phone: 250-612-8710
  • Jennifer Chuckry, Executive Director – [email protected]