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Two Years Since 215+
May 28, 2023
Content warning: This newsletter contains information about residential schools. Mental health support is available.
Today, May 28, marks two years since the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced that preliminary findings indicated the remains of 215+ children were buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
In the weeks that followed, flags were lowered to half-mast across the country, many Canada Day celebrations were canceled, and people in Canada were faced with the troubling reality of our shared history and what to do about it.
Two years later, more communities have announced potential graves and dozens more searches are underway. In today’s newsletter, we share a new blog post with reflections on the Blue Quills Indian Residential School ground search and ways you can #DoSomething.
Blue Quills at Saddle Lake Cree Nation, taken by Joel Cardinal.
Blue Quills Residential School Ground Search for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves
Joel Cardinal is a Néhiyaw from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and the Manager of ReconciliACTIONs at the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.
Last summer, Blue Quills University announced they would be conducting a ground search for unmarked burial sites of children who attended Blue Quills Indian Residential School (IRS). It was first was a boarding school located in Lac La Biche, Alberta before being moved to Saddle Lake Cree Nation in 1898. The school was relocated to its current location near the town of St. Paul, Alberta. The federal government announced it was closing Blue Quills IRS in 1970, but members of the local First Nations began a 17-day sit-in. This protest ended with the federal government handing the school over to the Blue Quills Native Education Council.
Take the Pledge
From the outrage and grief that followed the announcement on May 28, 2021, the 215+ Pledge was launched as a call to take action to make sure no child who died at residential school was forgotten and that the experiences of all those who attended residential school are honoured. The 215+ Pledge is a call to action, not a prescribed path to achieve change.
Take the pledge and join us in taking reconciliACTION.
|TAKE THE PLEDGE
We can all #DoSomething to honour the stories of Survivors and make sure no child who died at residential school is forgotten. Here are a few ways you can Do Something:
- Support a recovery effort in your region.
- Educate yourself.
- Check out the resources at downiewenjack.ca
- Watch past panel discussions from the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
- Read our FAQ section on the updated 215pledge.ca website
- Recommended reading: Sugar Falls: A Residential School Story by David A. Robertson (includes a teacher guide)
- Recommended podcasts: Stolen: Surviving St. Micheal’s and Kuper Island
- Organizations like DWF rely on the generous support of donors so we may continue to build cultural understanding and further reconciliation. Donate today.