On May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced it located the remains of 215 children who were students at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Our hearts are with the families of each child whose death at the school went unacknowledged. The loss of these young lives is a tragedy beyond words.

To honour the 215 children, and every child whose life was taken, schools throughout EIPS are organizing ceremonies, including a moment of silence and encouraging staff and students to wear orange on Wednesday, June 2. As well, all EIPS buildings will fly flags at half-mast for 215 hours—an hour for each child—from May 31 to June 8.

As a Division, we stand in solidarity with everyone who suffered, and continues to suffer, because of trauma inflicted by the Canadian residential school system. Elk Island Public Schools has undertaken programs and initiatives based on respect, co-operation and partnership that embrace Indigenous teachings, heritage and contributions to enhance our understanding. But this news is a solemn reminder there remains much work ahead to comprehend the full truth of what occurred at residential schools so we can move forward with meaningful reconciliation—and a positive future.

Elk Island Public Schools

NOTE: The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available for former residential school students and includes emotional and crisis referral services. Services are available around the clock and can be accessed by calling 1-866 925-4419.