In less than a month, we are yet again confronted with a horrific reminder of the disturbing legacy that residential schools continue to have on Indigenous people across our country.
The remains of at least 751 individuals who died at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan makes us remember that residential schools forcefully disrupted Indigenous families, deprived them of their culture, and exposed many children to extreme forms of abuse.
While horrific, we must face the truth that these recent discoveries in Saskatchewan and British Columbia will not be the last. These grave sites remind us that we must continue to acknowledge the injustices experienced by Indigenous people in Canada, while using these grim discoveries as a catalyst to learn the truth about the lasting intergenerational trauma that residential schools have had for Indigenous people.
We have asked that flags at municipal facilities be lowered to recognize these most recently discovered victims. While we acknowledge that the flag lowering is symbolic, we are also committing to listening and learning. We recognize our responsibilities detailed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and are committed to taking action. We will continue to take meaningful action by building stronger relationships with our local Indigenous groups, as well as listening to the advice and guidance of our newly established Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Committee.
For those looking for support, the Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for former residential school students and others by calling 1-866-925-4419.