In May of this year I, like many of us, was deeply saddened by the discovery of the mass grave site in Kamloops, British Columbia at a former residential school. The Canadian residential school system, created by Christian churches and the Canadian government, is a sordid mark on our shared history.
We know that the Indigenous children who were taken from their families to be assimilated into white Euro-Canadian society suffered tremendously. They frequently suffered physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as severe neglect.
The atrocities that the Indigenous children and their communities faced took place with full knowledge by the Canadian government and were at the hands of public servants employed by the Department of Indian Affairs of Canada. While there were whistleblowers who had attempted to raise the alarm they were discredited and erased from history.
As members of the public service in 2021, it is important to recognize that these atrocities are not part of some long-forgotten past of the Canadian Government. The last residential school in operation, Gordon Residential School (Punnichy, Saskatchewan), closed in 1996 a mere 25 years ago.
The profound injustice inflicted upon Indigenous communities and their children in Canada remains unresolved to this day which is why I encourage all members to participate in active reconciliation today. Take part in a community gathering, attend Truth and Reconciliation Week, get involved and take action.
Every Child Matters. Remember, reflect, engage. September 30.