Everyone in Canada must learn the truth about Canada's past

May 31, 2021 – Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Human Rights Commission


Following the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, Marie-Claude Landry, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, issues the following statement:


I am deeply saddened and pained by the news of the discovery of the remains of 215 children found in a mass grave at the former Indian residential school in Kamloops. My heart aches for the families and communities grieving for their lost loved-ones.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission supports the calls for a national day of mourning and the lowering of flags across the country. As a nation, we must stop to grieve this devastating discovery and the horrific evidence of Canada’s and the churches’ inhumane cruelty towards Indigenous people.

Residential schools and the systematic and deliberate destruction of Indigenous culture, language and people are not a distant chapter in Canada’s history. The pain and trauma inflicted on Indigenous people in this country lives on in our workplaces, our schools, and our communities. Inaction and indifference perpetuate the impacts of this horrific legacy.

Everyone in Canada must know the truth about our history. Reconciliation must involve teaching every child about the atrocities that took place in residential schools. It is our past. It is our present. It is our shame.

As has often been stated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: "Education got us into this mess, and education will get us out of it."

Support available

Support is available for anyone affected by the lingering effects of residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former 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. It's toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717 or online at kuu-uscrisisline.com.



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