Last week, we were heartbroken to learn of the burial site of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. We stand not only with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc but all Indigenous communities impacted by the legacy of the residential school system. We can only imagine their pain and grief as they continue to try to reconcile the incomprehensible and the reprehensible.
We recognize that this knowledge has been ignored far too long. In fact, until it no longer could be. Our thoughts are with each residential school survivor, their families, and every Indigenous community. We mourn those who never made it home. Their lives mattered.
Today marks the beginning of National Indigenous History Month, commemorating the rich and diverse cultures, voices, experiences, and histories of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people of Canada. Located on Treaty 8 and Tahltan Territory, we pledge to stand with the Indigenous communities in our region as we learn to be better at recognizing our privilege of having our campuses built upon their territory. We will celebrate the histories and traditions of the Cree, Dene, Dunne-Za, Kaska, Saulteau, Tahltan, Tlingit and Tse’khene. There can be no reconciliation without the recognition and affirmation of truth, especially the truth that includes tragedy and untold sorrow.
As a college, we heed the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We commit ourselves to learn from what is not only a dark chapter in Canadian history but continues to occur today, and to plot a path forward together with Indigenous peoples.
M. Bryn Kulmatycki, PhD
President and Chief Executive Officer