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Province, Chief Coroner Issue Statements on Burial Site at Former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Kamloops – Residential schools in BC ,let alone anywhere else, have a sordid history. Since the news broke about the Kamloops Indian Residential School burial site of 215 children, horror and disgust is the common response to this story.

Many reporters who have worked in the Kamloops market in the past have started to post their views on social media. Marcella Bernardo, a Kamloops native and now works for News1130 Vancouver, said she was heartbroken to hear this.

FVN’s and chillTV’s Don Lehn who worked at a Kamloops radio station from 1983-85 echoed the sentiment “We had always heard the rumours, but we never knew anything more until now”.

Lisa Lapointe, BC’s chief coroner, released the following statement about the discovery of a burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School:

“On Thursday, the BC Coroners Service was advised by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc about the discovery of a burial site located adjacent to the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We are early in the process of gathering information and will continue to work collaboratively with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and others as this sensitive work progresses.

“We recognize the tragic, heartbreaking devastation that the Canadian residential school system has inflicted upon so many, and our thoughts are with all of those who are in mourning today.”

Premier John Horgan issued the following statement about the burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School:

“I am horrified and heartbroken to learn that the burial site of 215 children has been confirmed on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. I honour Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc as they grapple with this burden from a dark chapter of Canadian history and uphold their commitment to complete this investigation over the coming weeks – bringing to light the full truth of this loss.

“Each child has been forever taken from a family and a community that loved them. This is a tragedy of unimaginable proportions. And it is a stark example of the violence the Canadian residential school system inflicted upon Indigenous peoples and how the consequences of these atrocities continue to this day.

“The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people have said they are the caretakers of these children, as some would have been brought to the residential school from neighbouring Nations. My thoughts are with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and all who mourn, as they enact their cultural protocols to notify First Nations communities whose children were sent to this school.”

Support services are available for those affected by this news:

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1 866 925-4419.

Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717. Alternatively, call direct into the Youth Line at 250 723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250 723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/

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