Indigenous leaders say discovery of children’s remains at Kamloops residential school is beginning of national reckoning – by Jana G. Pruden and Kristy Kirkup (Globe and Mail – June 1, 2021)

As the discovery of the remains of 215 children at one of Canada’s largest residential schools continues to reverberate around the country, Indigenous leaders and community members say it is only the beginning of an important – but painful – national reckoning.

“Kamloops is one school,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde, referencing the more than 130 residential schools that once operated across the country.

“I’ve said before that the residential school system was a genocide against First Nations people, Indigenous peoples. Here is the evidence. Nobody can deny that.”

The announcement by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir last week that the remains of 215 children had been found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in southern British Columbia made headlines around the world, and has sparked mourning and action generations in the making.

In the days since the announcement in B.C., neat lines of children’s shoes have appeared outside legislative buildings and churches, while ceremonies and vigils are held to honour the dead, and a country grapples with what should come next.

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