Statement from Sabra Desai, Chair of The Gatehouse, on the discovery of 215 Indigenous children being found at a former residential school on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia, at the Kamloops Indian Residential school.

On behalf of The Gatehouse its community of staff, volunteers, service users and donors, I want to express that we are appalled and deeply saddened to learn of the discovery of human remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. We share in the anger, disgust and grief felt by The Gatehouse Indigenous service users and volunteers and pledge to lend our support to all of our community members as we navigate the trauma and loss from this horrific, ghastly discovery and its intergenerational impact.

This discovery of an unmarked gravesite for innocent Indigenous children removed from their parents as well as cultural communities died in the custody of public government sanctioned agents is a repulsive reminder of the violence of settler colonialism.  This is Canada’s history and it underscores the urgent need for reconciliation and committing ourselves as a country and a people to stop the ongoing dispossession and violence of Indigenous Peoples since to this day dozens of Indigenous communities still do not have access to clean safe drinking water and Indigenous children are still dying in the care of Canada’s child welfare system.

The Gatehouse community which is dedicated to social justice and healing through community connectivity pledges to be unwavering in our commitment to Indigenous communities across this vast country, Canada, in furthering reconciliation through our work.

Resources:

  • National Indian Residential School 24- hour Crisis Line for emotional and crisis referral: 1-866-925-4419
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Sabra Desai MSW; RSW.

Chair of The Gatehouse Board of Directors.

29 May, 2021.