May 31, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 31, 2021
NAFC statement on discovery of 215 children at Kamloops Residential School
The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC) offers our deepest condolences to families and communities of the 215 children recently found at the site of the Kamloops Residential School and all those impacted by the Canadian residential school and day school systems.
We honour the wisdom and work of Tk’emlups te Secwépemc to find these children. This is a profound discovery that advances the work of reconciliation in the most meaningful way and that happened because of your foresight and efforts.
“The large scale of the discovery is a shock to us all, but unfortunately, not a surprise to many” said Jocelyn Formsma, NAFC executive director, “We respect and uphold the stories from survivors who told us that there were more of their friends, family members, and schoolmates to be found. The reality is that this is not just a chapter in Canadian history, the legacy of these schools continues to permeate the lives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples every day.”
On behalf of our members, the NAFC wishes to acknowledge the personal and collective grief that we, as Indigenous peoples, are all experiencing, we recommit ourselves to doing our part to advance the rights of Indigenous children, and we call on our partners and all governments to the following actions:
- Read or re-read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and related reports: https://nctr.ca/records/reports/
- Review the TRC Calls to Action and recommit to their implementation: https://ehprnh2mwo3.exactdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Calls_to_Action_English2.pdf
- Support Orange Shirt Day: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
- Commit to child welfare reform in ways that uphold the rights of Indigenous children, and
- Develop a national Indigenous child wellbeing framework that reflects the diversity of Indigenous children in Canada.
There is a National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, if you are ever in need of emotional support.
FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES:
The NAFC represents over 100 local Friendship Centres and Provincial/Territorial Associations in every province and territory in Canada (except Prince Edward Island). Friendship Centres are urban Indigenous community hubs that provide a wide range of programs and services for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people living in urban, rural, and northern communities. Collectively, Friendship Centres are the largest and most comprehensive urban Indigenous service delivery network in Canada.