Archbishop and Primate Linda Nicholls released the following letter regarding the discovery of unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.
Last week the Chief of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation revealed news of the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at the site of an unmarked burial ground at a former residential school near Kamloops, B.C. The identities of the children are unknown at this time. The grief of families and communities unleashed by this news is heart wrenching and profound.
There have long been stories told in Indigenous communities of children who disappeared or never returned home from residential school and whose parents were never told what had happened or given the opportunity to receive their bodies for community ceremony. Whether the deaths were due to illnesses, abuse or neglect, the lack of dignity offered to these children by an anonymous burial far from their family or community is tragic and unacceptable.
Continue reading her letter here.
Bishop John Stephens has written this pastoral letter regarding the discovery of the burial site:
The discovery of the unmarked burial site at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, and the remains of 215 children found there has shocked us all.
The reporting of horrors of abuse and brutality at Residential Schools is not new to us but this burial site has brought into sharp focus the structural disrespect, cultural violence and cruelty that took place on a regular basis. We cannot ignore that two hundred and fifteen children were buried without markers, without notification to families and likely little or no ritual or ceremony of burial. How are we able to respond with so many emotions swirling around and within us?
Continue reading his letter here.