I am struggling to find words to share, the appropriate thing to say, a message that might make sense of the discovery of the mass grave of 215 Indigenous children found in British Columbia. This is partially because words are not enough. As a Catholic organization, we once again grieve the consequences of residential schools in Canada, and know that our institution played a part in causing these harms. This pain was not caused exclusively in the past – it continues to this day in other ways: through the removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities; through racism; through systematic barriers and daily injustices and inequity.
Our collective sadness at this discovery must spur continued action. We must continue to listen to the voices of Indigenous communities as they speak their truth, their horror, their grief, their sorrow, their anger. We must commit to learning and to unlearning from our collective past. This is a reminder that, although we cannot change the past, we are accountable for the present and we are accountable for what comes next. The work of reconciliation must be done by non-Indigenous people, by the organizations and institutions responsible for these harms. Our Network must build culturally safe workplaces and services for the future prosperity and wellbeing of Indigenous communities.
If you would like to take some immediate action, may I suggest making a donation to the Legacy of Hope Foundation.
We encourage you to learn more about Residential Schools and their impacts. Here are some resources that are a good place to start.
Resources For Non-Indigenous People:
Réseau Compassion Network