SRCE Mourns the 215 Children of the Kamloops Residential School

June 1, 2021

SRCE School Communities

The Strait Regional Centre for Education unites with communities across Nova Scotia and Canada to mourn, honour and remember the 215 children found buried on the grounds of the Kamloops residential school in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory in British Columbia, and all Indigenous children who never made it home, their families and survivors.

This devastating and heartbreaking tragedy reminds all of us of the lasting legacy of residential schools and the systemic efforts to eliminate the language, culture and value of Indigenous peoples. Finding the remains of 215 children next to a residential school has reminded all of us of the ongoing urgency to continue to address systemic racism in our society and also continue on the path of Reconciliation through Treaty Education. It is a stark reminder of the terrible tragedy of Canada’s residential school system, including here in Nova Scotia.

Flags at all provincial government buildings and institutions, including our schools, have been lowered to half-mast. Flags will be lowered for nine days, or 215 hours from sunrise on Monday, May 31, 2021, to sunset on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, to honour the life of each child lost and to recognize and learn from the societal harm done by the residential school system across the country, including Nova Scotia.

Going forward, we need to ensure we continue to educate about this part of our history, to increase our efforts to realize the promise of Inclusive Education, and work together affirming survivors, their families and recognizing the generational harm caused by residential schools.

We acknowledge that there were many children who went to residential schools and never returned home. The legacy of Canada’s residential school system continues to have a negative impact on all of us, including SRCE students, staff, families, and school communities. If you are having a difficult time as you learn more about this tragedy, there are supports available including:
 

  • National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
     
  • Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society: 1-800-721-0066
     
  • Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Centre: 1-855-379-2099
     
  • SRCE Staff School counsellors, school psychologists, teachers, school administrators and SchoolsPlus staff are a few of the supports available for our children and youth.
    • Please contact your respective school administration and/or school counsellor.
    • SchoolsPlus staff are also available to support children, youth and families and help you access mental health supports and other services you may need at Additional SRCE Mental Health Supports
       
  • Kids Help Phone is available 24/7, by calling 1-800-668-6868 (toll-free).
    • Children and youth may text TALK to 686868
    • Adults may text WELLNESS to 741741

We are encouraging conversations about residential schools in our classrooms. SRCE will continue to focus on our role in reconciliation through Treaty Education. Treaty Education allows for each grade level to learn about the Mi’kmaq, treaties, relationships, and reconciliation. These teachings are woven into the curriculum of every grade level throughout the school year.

We encourage you to join us, and act towards honouring the truth. What can you do?

  • Wear orange on Friday, June 4, 2021, as a symbol of awareness. Learn more about residential schools and the Orange Shirt Day Initiative
  • Learn more about the Mi’kmaq and the rich stories of who they are and their lived experience in this resource: Teaching about the Mi’kmaq
  • Learn about the Treaties of Peace and Friendship, including our treaty rights and responsibilities.
  • For our school-based staff: Intentionally teach Mi’kmaq history, culture and ways of knowing in your classrooms and programs.

We are all Treaty People. Every Child Matters.

Wela’lin / Thank you,

 

Paul Landry
Regional Executive Director of Education