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Statement: 215 children found in unmarked grave at Kamloops, B.C. residential school site

Posted June 2, 2021

The tragic discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in Kamloops, B.C. at the site of what was Canada’s largest residential school is a terrible reminder of the traumatic effects of racism in our country.

We can’t ignore and need to confront the difficult reality that harms caused by Canada’s residential school system are still felt today—not only by survivors, but multi-generationally by survivors’ friends and family.

CPSA is pleased the province is making a commitment to ensure that children who died in the residential school system are found and acknowledged to bring closure to the far too many families who are missing these children.

Canada’s healthcare system has played a role in perpetuating systemic racism, and CPSA is committed to taking action to change behaviour. We are on a journey of increasing our awareness and learning about how we can further our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation—creating culturally-safe care spaces and improving health outcomes for Indigenous peoples.

We recognize that effecting meaningful change for Indigenous patients requires that we go beyond enhancing existing standards and processes. We must embrace and advocate self-determination for Indigenous peoples of Canada, especially when it comes to health care. We are fortunate in Alberta to have many influential physician and Indigenous leaders we can learn from and partner with as we build a framework together to come up with real solutions.

A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to provide support for former students and those affected by the systemic, multi-generational harms of residential schools. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

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