Canada cannot bury its residential school sins
Ottawa, May 31, 2021 – The remains of 215 children at the former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia are not only evidence of Canada’s darkest chapter, but a stark reminder that the nation’s cruel history is far from resolved.
During this moment of national mourning, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE) grieves with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, residential school survivors, and all affected families and communities. In remembrance, the CTF/FCE has lowered its flag for 215 hours, until Tuesday, June 8, to mark one hour for each child no longer forgotten.
This tragedy must result in a national reckoning. It requires immediate and dedicated action, which is why the CTF/FCE calls on the federal government to carryout extensive and exhaustive investigations of all former residential school grounds across the country. Anything less than a thorough and transparent inquiry threatens to delay or derail efforts towards reconciliation, while prolonging the suffering inflicted upon descendants.
The CTF/FCE also urges the federal government to prioritize the passing of Bill C-15 before the end of this parliamentary session. The implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is a long overdue protection for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people, and a necessary step towards achieving the Calls to Action.
The legacy of residential schools is a stain on Canada’s conscience, national identity, and international standing. Canada’s efforts, no matter how profound, to combat racism, promote social justice, or build gender equality, cannot be adequately achieved without properly addressing a colonial past that continues to terrorize Indigenous Peoples across the land.
Shelley L. Morse
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
BC KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation
Founded in 1920, the Canadian Teachers’ Federation is the national voice for the teaching profession. As the national alliance of provincial and territorial teacher organizations, the CTF/FCE represents over 300,000 elementary and secondary school teachers across Canada.
Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF/FCE)