The discovery of a mass grave at a Kamloops residential school containing the remains of 215 children has shocked many Canadians. For Indigenous people, survivors of residential school and the descendants of such survivors, the discovery triggered traumatic personal and/or family memories. But for many Indigenous people, this discovery was not surprising.
Residential and day school survivors have repeatedly told stories of friends and family members dying and/or disappearing while at residential and day schools. Many descendants have also heard these stories or witnessed the traumatic impact these schools have had on their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and community members. Some survivors and/or their descendants were or are AUPE members; some are current AUPE members and staff members.
AUPE recommends members visit the TRC website for background as well as their link on how to help. http://www.trc.ca/events-and-projects/how-can-i-help.html
Also, be aware that National Indian Residential School Crisis Line provides support for former students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services can be accessed by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
AUPE stands together with the families of these 215 children who died at the residential schools in Kamloops and the families of 4,100 other children that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) acknowledged as having died at residential schools. The TRC has estimated that number could be higher because many schools did not keep complete records of deaths of children.
We mourn their loss and honour their memory.