As the President of TNT Justice Consultants, I take this opportunity to publicly acknowledge June as Indigenous History Month in Canada. It is with sadness that I also note It has been almost one year since Canadians learned from the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of the discovery of 215 unmarked burials at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. As part of Indigenous History Month, we need to honour those children permanently taken from their families, and all those still impacted today by the legacy of trauma left by the Indian Residential School System.
Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon remarked on May 23, 2022 in British Columbia that
“The time for we didn’t know is over. To all Canadians, I deliver this message. Indigenous families didn’t know what happened to their children and many still don’t. Most Canadians didn’t know about residential schools. Now they do.”
The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) has reported that over 4,200 children did not return home to their families from Indian Residential Schools. They experienced disease, violence, neglect, accidents or died as they tried to escape their horrible situation. Only 2,800 of those children have been identified. Their names have been added to a the memorial banner kept by the National Centre, and an entire volume of the TRC’s report is devoted to “Missing Children and Unmarked Burials.” Indigenous people continue to undergo the heart-breaking process of identifying and investigating suspected burial sites on and around former Indian Residential Schools, including here in Ontario.
As a Canadian I believe it is important for us all to broaden our collective knowledge of the true Indigenous experience in Canadian history. In doing this we can be accountable in the future for ensuring that anti-Indigenous racism is eliminated in our daily lives. As is my custom and commitment, I challenge you to reflect on your own learning, and what reconciliation means to you. During Indigenous History Month join us in being an “Ally Advancing Equity” that is committed to “Doing Diversity Different” by google searching informative Indigenous resources available at:
Dr. Frank Trovato