The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc (TteS) and the City of Kamloops share a vision and commitment toward reconciliation through relationship building that spans multiple fronts and which has become a recognized example for others to follow. Our work to implement the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples is an ongoing process.
In 2022, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the City of Kamloops permanently raised the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc flag outside City Hall in recognition that Kamloops is located on Tk’emlúps to Secwépemc territory, situated within the unceded ancestral lands of the Secwépemc Nation.
The Kamloops Indian Residential School is located on TteS land, just north of the City of Kamloops boundary. The school was established in 1890 and was in operation until 1969 as one of the largest residential schools in the Canadian Indian residential school system. At its peak, the school enrolled around 500 students per year.
The dark history of residential schools can never be forgotten. As a community, we must stand together to acknowledge this terrible past and the trauma it caused then and now. It is our responsibility to recognize the truths of this past and to support reconciliation efforts.
Part of that truth was illuminated in May 2021 when ground-penetrating radar revealed an estimated 215 unmarked graves of children on the Kamloops Indian Residential School property. These children are known now as Le Estcwicwéỳ (The Missing). This confirmation was the first of many from similar investigations that have revealed thousands of unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada.
The City was and continues to be heartbroken by the confirmation of Le Estcwicwéỳ and stands with our friends and neighbours at TteS to offer our support.
We invite you to watch the TteS public presentation from 2021 honoring the missing children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Below are some remarks from Mayor Ken Christian, a joint statement by former Mayor Christian and Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir on Canada Day 2021, and another statement marking the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 2021.
Support is available for anyone affected by the traumatic legacy of residential schools and those who are triggered by the latest reports and recoveries. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be contacted toll-free at 1-800-721-0066. A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
For more information regarding residential schools in Canada, please visit NCTR - National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
The City of Kamloops is working to implement the Truth & Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples.