As many were, I too was horrified by the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at Kamloops Residential School. Indigenous colleagues, members of the MRU Indigenous community and indeed, Indigenous people of Treaty 7 will be affected by this dreadful discovery. I cannot know exactly the pain that Indigenous people are feeling but I follow the lead of Associate Vice President ManyGuns found here.
As President of the MRFA, I want to express my support and solidarity with our Indigenous colleagues, who are reeling from yet more evidence of the residential school system and its genocidal intent. Indigenous peoples here and across this country continue to deal with violence and oppression. The MRFA has signed the Public Interest Alberta’s Call to Action, which calls upon the provincial and federal government to immediately implement an action plan with all First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to locate the graves of the thousands of missing Indigenous children so that proper cultural protocols can be observed.
As a settler and as an academic, I will continue to advocate that the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission are fully implemented and I call upon the federal government to monitor and report on its progress on implementing these Calls to Action.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous faculty must stand together at this moment and commit to re-doubling our own decolonization efforts here at Mount Royal University. I am making that commitment and hope you join me.
“Photos taken of the Kamloops Indian Residential School site [on June 6, 2021]. One is an image of a small group participating in a drum prayer and silent reflection at the front of the school. Immediately behind them, on the lawn, were two long rows of small lights & tokens each representing one of the 215 children discovered buried.
At the very left of the image is a soccer field on which at least 40 children of mixed races were playing soccer… Their shouts of joy and excitement mixed with the drums and song-prayers, the blend of sounds yielding up feelings of irony, confusion, sadness, and hope to all of us in attendance in front of the Residential School entrance with its plaque reminding us of the school’s history, the focus of the second photograph.” – Jerre Paquette (Retired MRU Professor and former MRFA President)