June 2, 2021

In memory of the 215 Residential School Children buried in Kamloops

A message from the Writing Symbols Lodge

All of the staff at the Writing Symbols Lodge are broken to hear of the discovery of 215 residential school children buried on the grounds of the residential school in Kamloops, BC, and we share in the heart break of Indigenous families across the country. 

Many of the staff of Writing Symbols Lodge have family members who are and were residential school survivors, so the news of this sad discovery hits very close to home for many of us.  We know there are many more children buried in residential schools across the country and we grieve with those families whose children who did not return home. We also support the call for more research and resources to find the children who are still lost.

We must never forget the impact of the residential school system had, and continues to have, on Indigenous families. We invite you to honour these children and join us in ensuring they are not forgotten.  Join us in standing up against injustice and oppression. Join us as we seek to treat each other with kindness and compassion.  We all need to treat each other with kindness and respect and lend an ear to those who are suffering from past trauma in the face of this truth coming to light.

It may be hard to listen to the true stories of these children, who were buried without proper dignity and left unnamed, but we claim them today. We honour them just we were taught by Elders, to honour that all life is sacred and that children are the heart of the community.

We encourage everyone to reach out for support and connection in this difficult time. Writing Symbols Lodge supports Indigenous student from across Turtle Island and encourage any students feeling distress to reach out to Paige Thomas, our Indigenous Student Wellness Adviser, at pmthomas@ucalgary.ca.

A National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former residential school students and their families:

  • spouse or partner
  • those raised by or raised in the household of a former residential school student
  • any relation who has experienced effects of intergenerational trauma associated with a family member's time at a residential school.
  • You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling 24-Hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers immediate help to all Indigenous peoples across Canada.

It is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to offer:

  • counselling
  • crisis intervention

Call the toll-free Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 or connect to the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca.