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215 Children's bodies found at Kamloops Residential School

Updated: Jun 3, 2021


Over 100 people gather on Saturday night (29th May) at the school site (Closed in 1978) to grieve the lives lost, which were discovered last week.


This is a very traumatic and unimaginable tragedy for all Indigenous communities across Canada, especially families and loved ones whose relatives attended residential schools and residential school survivors. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone at this incredibly hard time.


Please sign this petition for a Call for a National Day of Mourning for the Lost Children of Residential School http://chng.it/PhbW87W44b


"Indigenous leaders and experts in British Columbia are calling for the protection of sites of former residential schools, warning that the bodies of 215 children found in Kamloops, B.C., likely represent just a small portion of the thousands more who died while the schools were in operation." CBC News article - may 30th 2021


"Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said they hired a specialist in ground-penetrating radar to carry out the work, and that their language and culture department oversaw the project to ensure it was done in a culturally appropriate and respectful way"

"To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths," Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said in the statement.

"Some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children."


Initially, about 1,100 students attended 69 schools across the country. In 1931, at the peak of the residential school system, there were about 80 schools operating in Canada. There were a total of about 130 schools in every territory and province except Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick from the earliest in the 19th century to the last, which closed in 1996.


The Canadian Government believed it was responsible for educating and caring for aboriginal people in Canada. It thought their best chance for success was to learn English and adopt Christianity and Canadian customs. Ideally, they would pass their adopted lifestyle on to their children, and native traditions would diminish, or be completely abolished in a few generations.


The Canadian government developed a policy called "aggressive assimilation" to be taught at church-run, government-funded industrial schools, later called residential schools. The government felt children were easier to mold than adults, and the concept of a boarding school was the best way to prepare them for life in mainstream society.

Residential schools were federally run, under the Department of Indian Affairs. Attendance was mandatory for children in the many communities that didn't have day schools. Agents were employed by the government to ensure all native children attended school.


It is estimated that about 150,000 aboriginal, Inuit and Métis children were removed from their communities and forced by the Canadian Government to attend residential schools.(Library and Archives Canada/PA-042133)


Schools were operating from 1800's - to late 1990's and apology's, reconciliation and work is still to be done to this day for people to heal! This is not just history; it is on-going inter-generational trauma for people.



Access support services:

  • The 24 Hour National Residential School Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419 - The information and material here may trigger unpleasant feelings or thoughts of past abuse. Please contact if you require emotional support. This line has been set up to provide support, including emotional and crisis referral, for former Residential School students.

  • FNHA Residential Schools Program Support - Residential Schools Program is to ensure that eligible former students of residential schools, and their families, have access to appropriate and safe mental health, emotional and cultural support. Services are offered, using a wholistic approach, by a Cultural Support Worker or a Residential School Health Support Worker. To request any of these services, please call toll free 1-877-477-0775.

  • FNHA Indian Residential Schools information line; Phone: 1-877-477-0775​

  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (Formerly known as Indian and Northern Affairs) – Indian Residential Schools: http://www.aadnc-aandc.gc.ca/eng/1100100015576/1100100015577

  • Assembly of First Nations – Indian Residential Schools​

  • Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat at toll free: 1-877-635-2648 | www.iap-pei.ca

  • Indian Residential Schools Settlement Official Court Website: http://www.residentialschoolsettlement.ca/english.html

  • FNHA supports - https://www.fnha.ca/benefits/mental-health - for more information on mental health access and supports through benefits or other options.

  • ACCESS - Aboriginal Community Career Employment Services Society - for career and employment services

  • Circle of Eagles Lodge Society - for counselling and other support services

  • Department of Justice Canada - for information on Community-Based Justice Fund

  • Fraser Regional Aboriginal Friendship Centre - for support services that promote health and economic well being of Indigenous people

  • Helping Spirit Lodge Society - for programs, services and resources

  • Indigenous Organizations & Services - to see a Guide to Indigenous Organizations and Services in B.C.

  • Justice Education Society - for Indigenous programs and resources

  • Métis B.C. Nation - for programs and services

  • Native Courtworker and Counselling Association of B.C. - for culturally sensitive Indigenous services and programs, including court support

  • Department of Justice Canada - for information on Community-Based Justice Fund

  • Vancouver Coastal Health (Aboriginal Health Programs and Services) - for culturally safe programs that promote health and wellness of Indigenous people

  • Vancouver Native Health Society - for medical, counselling and social services

  • Warriors Against Violence Society - for counselling and support services


Supporting Organizations:

Adah Dene Cultural Healing Camp Society​

Margo Sagalon, Manager (Fort St. James), Admin.elders@telus.net

250-996-5024, 250-996-3813

Tracey Charlebois, Nakazdlieelders@telus.net, 250-996-1475


Carrier Sekani Family Services

Marilyn Janzen, Health and Wellness Manager (Nadleh Whut'en Health Centre), mjanzen@csfs.org, 250-690-7272

Mabel Louie, Executive Director, mabel@csfs.org, 250-567-2900


Gitanyow Human Services

250-849-5572 Erica Marsden, Health Director (Kitwanga), erica@gitanyowhealth.ca

Wanda Good, Project Manager, Wanda.e.good@gmail.com


Gitsxan Health Society

250-842-5165

Annie Howard, Executive Director (Gitanmaax), ehd@gitxsanhealth.com

Ardythe Wilson, IRS Manager, irsmanager@gitxsanhealth.com


Nuu Chah Nulth Tribal Council

250-724-3939

Vina Robinson, Manager (Port Alberni), vina.robinson@nuuchahnulth.org

Kim Erickson, Acting Supervisor, kim.erickson@nuuchahnulth.org


Indian Residential School Survivor Society

604-985-4464

Angela White, Executive Director (Vancouver), AngelaWhite@irsss.ca


Okanagan Alliance

Jennifer Lewis, Wellness Manager (West​ Bank), wellness.manager@sylix.org, 250-707-0095

Ruby Peterson, IRS Lead, SIRS@sylix.org, 250-707-0095 ext. 229


Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society

Nola Jeffrey, Executive Director (Lantzville), ed@tsowtunlelum.org, 250-390-3123

Dwanda Joseph, Program Director, pd@tsowtunlelum.org, 250-927-0935


Articles and Resources:


What Can you do to help Indigenous Peoples?


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