We, at the BlackNorth Initiative, are appalled and saddened by the mass grave containing the remains of 215 children were found at a former residential school set to assimilate indigenous people. This discovery was announced on Thursday May 27th by the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Secwépemc Nation and all Indigenous communities during this time of grief. This is an unthinkable loss. Today, we are reminded of the reprehensible residential school system and the suffering experienced by Indigenous People. These children were taken from their homes and placed in the care of the Kamloops residential school, but instead of being taken care of, they became victims of heinous crimes. In 2015, a National Center for Truth and Reconciliation report estimated that more than 150,000 children attended these schools and more than 6,000 died, never returning home. What happened at the schools amounted to “cultural genocide” according to the report from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The BlackNorth Initiative shares its deepest condolences to the families for the loss of their loved ones. We recognize that the loss of these lives has been and is a great injustice to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc nations and all Indigenous communities.

We believe that every child matters, and we stand as allies with all the First Nations and Indigenous communities throughout Canada in the hopes of reaching truth and reconciliation.

The National Indian Residential School crisis line is available to provide 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others affected: 1-866-925-4419.