Ontario English Catholic Teachers

Catholic teachers call for action as remains of 215 children found at BC residential school

“Catholic teachers mourn the loss of 215 children, whose remains were found at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

Tragedies such as this are horrific and unthinkable, but their impact cannot be reduced to ‘incidents of history.’ The pain and trauma experienced by these families and Indigenous communities is real, present, and ongoing.

As educators, it is our responsibility to listen, to learn, and to understand our own history, so that we may do justice, and seek justice, for the students we serve. As Catholic teachers, we acknowledge the devastation caused by Canada’s residential school system, and we strengthen our commitment to serve as allies in the continued struggle to end discrimination of all Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Reconciliation demands truth and action. We call on the Catholic Church to issue a formal apology for its role in Canada’s residential school system. We call on the federal government to immediately implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. And we call on the provincial government to reinstate vital resources around Indigenous education.

It has been six years since the publication of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, and the redress of the legacy of residential schools remains woefully incomplete. As we enter June, which honours and celebrates Indigenous History Month, nothing short of immediate and dedicated action will suffice. We must show through actions large and small that every child matters.”

Liz Stuart, President of the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association