PINCHER CREEK, AB – Many people are speaking out following the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, BC.
Flags have been lowered across the country to honour those young lives lost and there have been nightly vigils over the past week, including one in Lethbridge on Monday evening.
Terri-Lynn Fox with the Kainai Wellness Centre says it’s important we all understand the impact these schools had and still have today on Indigenous people across Canada.
“We need to do it in a good way through ceremonies, by acknowledging our traditional teachings and as a collective,” says Fox. “We can not do it alone. We need everyone onboard, we need people to walk with us. Walk on this journey with us so everyone understands the process of healing and reconciliation.”
Fox says what happened in Kamloops hits close to home for so many first Nations people. She herself has been impacted with both her parents attending residential schools.
She says words and apologies are one thing, it’s time for action. “We can not move forward if we don’t take action. Government has to take responsibility and they have to know that the preceding generations deserve that.”
Fox notes these schools have had a generational impact on First Nations people all across the country.
On the Blood Tribe, there were two church-run schools on the reserve St. Paul’s Anglican and St. Mary’s Roman Catholic.
Alberta government commits to find unmarked Indigenous graves
The provincial government will commit funding to a program to uncover any undocumented burial sites at former residential schools in Alberta.
The decision comes after the discovery of the bodies at the residential school site in Kamloops.
The Minister of Indigenous Relations, Rick Wilson says details will be announced in the coming days. He says many of his friends as a youth went to residential schools.
Wilson says he can’t imagine his children being taken away to such institutions.