We would like to express our deepest condolences to all those impacted by the confirmation of 751 unmarked graves on the Cowessess First Nation near the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School (Saskatechewan). This devastating news, following the discovery of the remains of 215 children near a former residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory (British Columbia), provides further material evidence of what has been known in Indigenous communities for generations. More such discoveries are sure to come, and our thoughts are with those whose missing and stolen children have yet to be reclaimed. The process of finding and bringing these children home to their communities is both important and painful. We recognize that such horrors will impact some of the University community more than others. We hope that for all, it may be a step towards reconciliation and healing.
The Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action explicitly name education as a pillar of reconciliation. ULFA commits to its role in moving the University of Lethbridge along the path of Indigenization and Decolonization. We uphold the stages of Indigenization of the Academy, outlined in a June 2021 report by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT)’s Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education Working Group (“Indigenization of the Academy: A Checklist”). The University Teaching Centre also provides significant resources on Indigenizing our teaching. We encourage members to educate themselves about the many ways we can all work towards meaningful reconciliation. Words alone are not enough, but they will plant seeds and guide our actions.
If you or someone you know is looking for help, there are supports available to anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience, including:
- the national Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program (24-hour crisis line: 1-866-925-4419);
- the Hope for Wellness Helpline (24-hour support line: 1-855-242-3310) which offers immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous people.
- the Indian Residential School Survivors Society in British Columbia;
- this Government of Alberta site, offering programs, services and guides those whose healing path includes residential school research and recognition.