Green Party Statement regarding the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at former Kamloops residential school

OTTAWA  – The Green Party of Canada is devastated by the recent discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the former Kamloops Indian residential school on the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation reserve.

“This heartbreaking discovery has affected me deeply,” said Green Party Leader Annamie Paul. “The grief of the families and communities whose beloved children died in that terrible place is unimaginable.”

Ms. Paul said that the calls to action contained in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Report must be implemented immediately. She also called on the federal government to take the following additional measures:

  • Provide sustainable  funding for new and existing Indigenous Healing Centres to address the harms caused by residential schools;
  • Honour the original request from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission for funding for work on the Missing Children and Unmarked Burials Project;
  • Call on the Pope to apologise on behalf of the Catholic Church for its involvement in this tragedy;
  • Recognise that Indigenous children in residential schools have been replaced by Indigenous children in foster care; Indigenous children account for 7.7 per cent of children in Canada, but 52.2 per cent of children in care;
  • Stop fighting the Canada’s Human Rights Tribunal orders requiring the government to compensate the child and family victims of Canada’s discrimination; and ensure  non-status First Nations’ children living off reserve have access to Jordan’s Principle.

Rosanne Casimir, 13th elected Kukpi7/Chief for Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc stated the following: "It's all good and well for the federal government to make gestures of goodwill and support regarding the tragedy. There is an important ownership and accountability to both Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc and all communities and families that are affected, and that needs to happen and take place. 

Ms. Paul concluded that the Green Party, as always, is ready to work in solidarity with advocates and with other parties to ensure that the necessary work on reconciliation gets done. 

“On behalf of the Green Party, I extend deepest condolences to all the First Nations families whose children were lost in this horrific tragedy,” said Ms. Paul. “Our thoughts are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation community and with Indigenous communities across the country still struggling to overcome the terrible legacy of the residential schools, and our commitment is to do all we can to support healing and reconciliation.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview:

Rosie Emery

Press Secretary