A statement from Dean Robert Helsley and Ch’nook Director Jennifer Hooper
We are saddened and shocked to learn of the discovery of unmarked and undocumented burials of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (IRS). As mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers…our thoughts are with the families, the communities, residential school survivors and all who grieve.
We are compelled to provide an acknowledgement from UBC Sauder in addition to the statement released recently by UBC President Santa J. Ono in support of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation.
We recognize this tragic news will intensify the ongoing traumatic impacts the legacy of residential schools has on survivors and intergenerational survivors in our community. If you need support, counselling services are available to you as a Ch’nook student on both the UBC Vancouver and Okanagan campuses. You may also directly access UBC’s 24/7 Student Assistance Program for your wellness needs.
In addition to campus resources there are other wellness lines that offer immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to Indigenous peoples across Canada such as the Hope for Wellness Help Line. Hope for Wellness offers 24/7 support via phone 1-855-242-3310 and chat www.hopeforwellness.ca, with services in English, French, and Cree, Ojibway and Inuktitut. The Province of BC also offers Here2Talk.ca that can connect you with immediate, confidential support and community resources via app, phone or the web.
This discovery at the former Kamloops IRS is a sombre reminder of the importance of uncovering truth as a critical precursor to reconciliation. Our Ch’nook community is strong and we must continue to share our truths, lean on each other and recognize the tremendous talents and wisdom we have to offer. Ch’nook business students can create enterprises that represent the incredible spirit and creativity we have to share while honouring our unique values and perspectives.
For more information on work our colleagues on campus are doing in relation to the recent news, we encourage you to visit the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre’s website at https://irshdc.ubc.ca/about/in-the-news/.