Our thoughts are with the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation, residential schools survivors, and we also remember and honour the families of the countless number of children who died while held at residential schools, including the children known to have lost their lives at residential schools on Vancouver Island. NIC’s flags will be flown at half-mast until further notice to honour those who suffered trauma and harm at the former residential school in Kamloops and their families and communities who are mourning.
Residential schools are a horrific chapter in Canada’s history which continues to leave a lasting legacy of intergenerational trauma. Children were taken from their homes, separated from their families and communities and stripped of their culture, language and sense of safety, belonging and identity. It is an experience no child or family should ever have had to endure. The lasting trauma of residential schools and Indian day schools continues to impact individuals, families and communities today.
As we approach National Indigenous History Month in June, it is important that we directly face these and other realities of racism in Canada and the trauma, violence and inequality present today. As an educational institution, we recognize our responsibility to acknowledge these truths, educate our students, staff, faculty and leaders, and commit to reconciliation action.
NIC is honoured to acknowledge the unceded territory of the combined 35 First Nations of the Nuu-chah-nulth, Kwakwaka’wakw and Coast Salish traditions on which our campuses are situated. Their leadership has strengthened and enriched NIC in all we do. With the guidance of the Indigenous Education Council, Elders, students, and employees, we are committed to supporting Indigenous-led education, celebrating Indigenous knowledge and achieving lasting reconciliation.
More than anything, reconciliation is about action and commitment. It’s about restoring balance and initiating measures to address the social divide, the rampant racism and socio-economic inequity that exists for Indigenous people along every social determinant of health. NIC is committed to engage in meaningful conversations, education and training by adopting the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s guiding principles. This is a path we are just beginning to walk.
We know the news of this discovery will be difficult for many in our communities, both now and in the days, weeks and months ahead as the investigation uncovers more details. Please reach out if you need support.
Along with NIC Services, there are dedicated community resources available to help you:
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.
Lisa Domae, President & CEO