From the Office of the Chief
The discovery of 215 unmarked graves in 2021 of children at the former Kamloops Residential School has led to an outpouring of grief. Many people are asking how they can support the Secwepemc people in practical ways. The Office of the Chief of the Tk̓emlups te Secwepemc has released a two-page letter with practical actions that everyone can take.
Click on the link below for the full letter
The ten actions, in the words from the Office of the Chief, are:
- Please be respectful of Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc cultural protocols and primary lead as the caretaker of these lost loved ones. We are doing so with love, honour, and respect. We have and will continue to reach out to communities and Nations whose members attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School to determine the next steps.
- Help ensure that there is not a tragedy upon a tragedy and uphold all Provincial Health and Safety orders. So many people throughout the province have been traumatized and are grieving because of this news and wanting to come together in ceremony and prayer. Please remember that we are still in the midst of a pandemic and Tk̓emlúps te Secwépemc members have not had their second Covid-19 vaccination.
- Protocols for Ceremony and Gatherings – For individuals or groups that want to hold gathering /ceremonies in the TteS community, it is appropriate protocol to have permission and approval of the TteS Chief and Council. It also assists the community in planning and preparation.
- Not clear or aware of the real history of residential school? Review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Final Report and Calls to Action. In doing so, you are upholding the heavy lifting already done by the survivors, intergenerational survivors, and the TRC. In addition, to show your solidarity, we encourage you to wear an orange shirt and start conversations with your neighbours about why you are doing so.
- For non-Indigenous people, now is not the time to ask questions but to simply offer a kind ear to your Indigenous friends. This situation has opened a wound for so many. Please also take the time to learn about intergenerational trauma and its effects.
- There is a memorial in front of the Kamloops Indian Residential School where you can leave notes, flowers or just to come to pay your respects in a COVID safe way.
- Many have asked if there was a way to make a financial contribution to support Tk̓ emlúps te Secwépemc in the process of honouring and learning more about the lost children in their caretaking. Donations will be used toward the work that is needed for further investigation (scientific and archival) and later memorialize the children (in collaboration with and shaped by TteS members, home communities and families of the children). Donations can be made at email@example.com. Cheques can be made out to Tḱemlúps te Secwepemc and mailed to 200-330 Chief Alex Thomas Way, Kamloops, BC V2H 1H1
- If you have an expertise that Tk̓ emlúps te Secwépemc may be able to make use of, please contact Ted Gottfriedson, Manager, Tk̓ emlúps te Secwépemc Culture and Language Department at Ted.Gottfriedson@kib.ca
- If you have information about those that may be buried on this site, please contact Ted Gottfriedson, Manager, Tk̓ emlúps te Secwépemc Culture and Language Department at Ted.Gottfriedson@kib.ca
- Pl̓ease follow us on Facebook or monitor our website for the latest news. Tkemlúps te Secwépemc will continue to provide updates on this situation as they become available.