Dean Glen Jones Statement on discovery at the Kamloops Indian Residential School
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education is appalled and devastated to learn of the discovery of human remains from 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. We share in the anger and grief felt by our Indigenous faculty, students, staff and alumni, and pledge to lend our care and support to all of our community members as we navigate the trauma and loss from this grim discovery.
This discovery of an unmarked gravesite for indigenous children who had been removed from their parents and communities and died in the custody of public policy is a horrendous reminder of the violence of settler colonialism. This is our history; this is the truth that underscores the need for reconciliation, but it is also our present as we recognize the ongoing violence and dispossession faced by Indigenous peoples. Across Canada, communities from the Mi’qmak and Wet’suwet’en, continue to face repression for defending their lands and practicing their treaty rights. Dozens of First Nations communities still do not have access to safe and clean drinking water, and, in the last four months, 11 Indigenous children died while in the care of Ontario’s child welfare system.
We must remember the children that became invisible within a residential school system, and who went “missing” only to be discovered in an unmarked gravesite. We must remember that this took place in the name of education. We must be unwavering in our commitment to furthering reconciliation through our teaching, research and advocacy. This violence must end.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide 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.
Additional resources available at the University of Toronto are referred to in the Statement from UofT President Meric Gertler
OISE is unwavering in its mission to prepare our community to solve the world’s challenges. We will continue to work alongside our community in their ongoing efforts to bring meaningful change.