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AUMA Statement: Response to the recent discovery of a mass grave at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School

June 2, 2021

The AUMA was deeply troubled and saddened to learn that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were recently found in a mass grave in Kamloops, British Columbia. 

We grieve their deaths and we are thinking of the families of these children and the communities from which they came at this difficult time. 

The loss of life that occurred at residential schools across Canada from the 1880s to 1996 is almost impossible to comprehend. Canadians need to know what happened, do what they can to help achieve reconciliation, and never forget the immeasurable damage that was inflicted on Indigenous people, their cultures, and their ways of life.

At least 25 residential schools operated in Alberta. All of us need to come to terms with the legacy left by the residential school system and support the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC), including those related to missing children, burial information, and commemoration.

Yesterday, the Government of Alberta announced that it intends to fund research into the undocumented deaths and burials of hundreds of Indigenous children in our province who did not make their way home. While AUMA acknowledges this is an important “next step,” we are under no illusion that it is enough. 

In the days and weeks ahead, we look forward to the provincial government presenting its plan for this important research, committing an appropriate amount of funding, and partnering with the Indigenous groups who will lead this difficult work.

We encourage our members to follow the advice of the TRC’s Call to Action #57 and provide education to municipal elected leaders and employees about the history of Indigenous peoples , including the history and legacy of the residential school system. Through that work, we also encourage members to read the stories of residential school survivors and to consider the impact that buildings, parks and other municipal infrastructure bearing the names of those who implemented Canada’s residential school system have on the people who live in their communities.

More needs to be done; now is the time to do it.

LINKS:  

Reports by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – https://nctr.ca/records/reports/ 

94 Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada – https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf 

Listing of residential schools that operated in Alberta – http://www.trc.ca/about-us/residential-school.html 

Interactive map of residential school locations across Canada – https://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/beyond-94-residential-school-map/ 

University of Alberta’s free online Indigenous Canada course – https://www.ualberta.ca/admissions-programs/online-courses/indigenous-canada/index.html

 

Please direct media inquiries to:

Scott Lundy

Communications Manager, AUMA

780-668-2436