On behalf of the NIC community, I would like to acknowledge the Cowessess First Nation’ findings of unmarked graves at the former Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan. The findings are in addition to the 215 unmarked graves found by the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation at the former Kamloops Residential School announced in May. I expect they are certainly the first of many more findings to come.
I acknowledge the enormous pain and loss being felt by Indigenous community members across the region and express my sincere support.
NIC is committed to meaningful action and will work toward the implementation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. Senior leadership members are seeking guidance from the Indigenous Education Council, who represent the 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish traditions. At their request, more specific actions will be discussed in the fall, when it is safe to meet in person.
In the meantime, many people are asking what they can do to educate themselves or support Indigenous communities. I would like to share BCcampus’ Actions for Reconciliation as Citizens and Educators resource.
I also encourage you to read Working Together, the Indigenous Education Council’s first-ever Indigenization Plan in NIC history, launched on June 21, which shares our upcoming goals to become more Indigenous-serving.
NIC President and CEO
Along with NIC Services, there are dedicated community resources available which offer support. They include:
- The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066.
- A national 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected: 1-866-925-4419.
- The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24/7. It's toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717 or online at kuu-uscrisisline.com.