Like all Canadians, we at NASA were shocked and deeply saddened by the discovery of an unmarked mass grave of 215 Indigenous children on the site of a former so-called residential school in Kamloops, BC.
This discovery is a stark example of the many horrors that have been inflicted on Indigenous Peoples since settlers first arrived in what would come to be known as Canada. We also recognize that far from being a part of history, the traumas of these institutions—which existed as late as 1996—are still being lived today by thousands of Indigenous people.
We stand in solidarity with the members of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all those mourning the deaths of these 215 children. We also recognize that this is almost certainly only the first of many such gravesites of the estimated 4,100 victims of this insidious system.
We hope this tragedy is a wake-up call for all Canadians to finally take seriously the shared task of reconciliation, and we call on all levels of government finally resource and act on the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada—starting immediately with recommendations 71–76, which demand action on missing children and burial information.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been created to provide support for former residential school students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.
NASA has also signed on to the civil society and labour solidarity statement in support of a call for action coordinated by Public Interest Alberta.