The horrible impact and intergenerational trauma created by residential schools across Canada is ongoing. Following the discovery of a mass grave containing 215 bodies on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds in Kamloops, B.C. in late May, investigations began at other residential school sites across the country. More recently, several hundred unmarked graves were found at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Cowessess, Saskatchewan, the former St. Eugene’s Mission School near Cranbrook, B.C., and on the site of the Kuper Island Industrial School on Kuper Island, B.C. Survivor witness testimony indicates that unmarked graves will continue to be found.
We extend our sympathy and support to all Indigenous nations and to all of our own Indigenous community members.
As AMDSB families and as educators, we must inform ourselves and help to raise awareness about this dark aspect of our history. We must be changemakers.
Having an emotional reaction to traumatic news like this is normal and justified. Please reach out using the resources listed below if you need support.
Here are some things you can do to support our Indigenous community members:
- Learn more about these issues from other non-media sources (listed below)
- Raise awareness with friends and family
- Contact your MP, Senator, or MPP
- Sign petitions
- Make a donation to a children’s charitable organization
- Child-friendly version of the TRC Calls to Action: Spirit Bear's Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Calls to Action
- How to be an Indigenous Ally
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation
- Legacy of Hope Foundation
- CBC book list: 48 Books by Indigenous Writers to Read to Understand Residential Schools
Speaking to children about trauma
- Speaking with Students about Traumatic Events (TDSB)
- Tips for Speaking With Your Child After a Tragic Event (York Region DSB)
- How to Talk to Your Children About the Unfolding Events at the Former Kamloops Residential School (page 4) (North American Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response)
- Atlohsa Family Healing Services
- Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line. Their mandate is to support residential school survivors and their families but their policy is not to turn anyone away | 1-866-925-4419 (24/7 support)
- Kids Help Phone, an anonymous and confidential phone and on-line professional counselling service for youth | 1-800-668-6868
- Crisis Services Canada | 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line | 1-855-242-3310 (24/7 support)