To All Members of the Huron-Superior Catholic Community:
In late May, we learned that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were found at the residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Some of these children were as young as three years old.
This news is a source of profound distress and anguish for many Indigenous students, employees, families, and communities, as it reopens wounds from other acts of atrocity, indifference, and injustice. The news is also a source of great shame and sorrow for our board and many non-Indigenous people across Canada.
In memory and honour of these children, their communities, and their extended families, our board’s flags were lowered on Monday, May 31, 2021; they will remain lowered until further notice. On Tuesday, June 8 @ 2:15 p.m., we ask that you join our students and employees in wearing the colour orange and observing two minutes and fifteen seconds of prayerful silence, in honour, respect, and memory, particularly of these 215 children.
The Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board extends its condolences to all those who have lost loved ones, not only at the Kamloops Residential School, but at all residential schools throughout Canada. We also extend sincere condolences to those families whose lives have been forever changed by other historic practices that have removed Indigenous children from their families and communities or distanced them from their cultural traditions.
As a board, we are mindful that residential schools operated for many years within our board’s geographic boundaries, specifically in Chapleau, Sault Ste. Marie, and Spanish. While our board did not oversee these schools, we are mindful that some survivors of these schools and their family members have served our board, continue to serve our board, and/or have children or grandchildren who serve and/or attend our board.
We wish to advise everyone of the Residential Schools Support Program. This national service is available, not only for the survivors of residential schools, but also their family members. A 24/7 crisis line for residential school survivors is available at 1-866-925-4419.
Additional information may be found at the following websites:
Finally, in closing, we remind everyone that June is National Indigenous History Month. Now is the opportune time to become educated about the rich history and many contributions of Indigenous people and the impact that residential schools have had on Indigenous people and communities.
As people of hope, we encourage everyone to learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action and commemorate National Indigenous Peoples Day with us on Monday, June 21, 2021.
Rose Burton Spohn, Director of Education