The Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) shares the nation’s horror at the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and all Indigenous communities in Canada mourning these children and others yet to be found, are foremost in our thoughts.
Though this discovery is sickening, it is not shocking: these known deaths, but unknown graves, are the result of systemic oppression, racism, and genocide inflicted on Indigenous communities in our country – many aspects of which are ongoing today. Our association remains committed to righting these wrongs; more information on this can be found in our Statement of Apology and Commitment to Reconciliation and our Reconciliation Hub.
We also cannot, and must not, speak for Indigenous communities: rather, we echo the calls of Indigenous leaders and organizations calling for the swift and complete implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and for the tools required to complete searches of Canada’s other residential school grounds – driven by the implicated Nations and Communities, on their direction and at their own pace.
Today, June 1st, marks the first day of National Indigenous History Month, the perfect time for the government of Canada to act expediently and immediately pass Bill C-5 into law, making September 30th the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.