NAN Oshkaatisak Council Statement on Children Found at Kamloops Indian Residential School

THUNDER BAY, ON: The Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Oshkaatisak Council is deeply heartbroken at the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

We are sending our thoughts and prayers to the families and Nations affected, and have provided tobacco at a Sacred Fire in honour of the children. We are especially thinking of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc at this time.

“I always knew that there were children buried at former Residential Schools. We all knew. But hearing about the evidence of the 215 children found in British Columbia was a hard reality hit for myself, and there are probably more,” said Oshkaatisak Council member Mallory Solomon of Constance Lake First Nation.  “I am currently attending Algoma University, which is located at the site of the Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools. It is really difficult for me to walk the hallways and grounds. I can feel the children and the hurt. Canada was built on the blood of Indigenous Peoples. I am frustrated and grieving over what has happened in the past, as well as what is currently happening.”

As the children, grandchildren, friends and relatives of Residential School Survivors, the Oshkaatisak Council is aware of many testimonies which spoke of the deaths and disappearances of children at Residential Schools. Some of our own family members did not return home.

All of these children and youth mattered, and still matter. They deserve to be honoured and brought home.

The Oshkaatisak Council is calling on the Government of Canada to release records and create a separate, unique fund for First Nations and affected families to use to search for their children who did not return home from Residential Schools.

For more information please contact:
Michael Heintzman,
Director of Communications
Cell: (807) 621-2790
mheintzman@nan.ca