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Honouring the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc children

The orange berries of the Mountain Ash reflect the sentiment of Orange Shirt Day: communities coming together in a spirit of reconciliation and hope because every child matters. (Photo: Devon Yu)

Our hearts and minds are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc nation and all Indigenous communities and families who endured the atrocities of the colonial residential school system – a glaring example of one of the many ways genocide has played out on this land with its legacy of intergenerational trauma. We invite you to join us in taking the following actions to honour the memories of the 215 children lost at the former residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, along with the thousands of other children who went missing or endured horrific abuse during the residential school era. We acknowledge the trauma their families and communities are facing today:

  • Learn more. Follow @decolonizefirst and sign up for the Nahanee Creative Speaker Series to hear the unfiltered history from Elders of our local nations, and explore these 12 readings suggested by The Tyee:  https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/05/29/Shook-My-Core/
  • Do what you can to support the survivors and families, such as donating to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society:  www.irsss.ca
  • Wear orange this week in solidarity with the B.C. teachers’ union’s “orange shirt action” running from May 31 to June 4 to honour the 215 children’s lives.

Many of us are uninvited occupiers on this land and all of us at SPES work to participate in a way that helps restore the land through our education and stewardship work. This includes pursuing a healing and restorative relationship with the those of the land (known now by many as Stanley Park) who have been displaced from it and neighbouring lands and waters. Injustices are alive with the on-going racism and systems that continue to hurt Indigenous people across Turtle Island. We know an important part of this journey is unlearning the histories and “ways of being” that we have been taught, while relearning and honouring Indigenous histories and ways, and moving into action that supports the healing and justice needed for a brighter future.

We have much work to do. We mourn being part of a society that let this happen to 215 children, and so many more “documented” and undocumented losses of life and culture. If we do not understand that we are still part of the problem and don’t work to rectify it, we will continue to perpetuate the problem. SPES commits to doing better.