We would like to recognize that we are writing to you guests on the traditional territory of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc peoples within the unceded traditional lands of Secwepemcúl’ecw. We are grateful for the opportunity to work, live and play in this beautiful part of the world. Secwépemc Peoples have cared for and nourished this land since time immemorial. As guests on this land, we commit to learning from and walking alongside those who have always called this land home.
The discovery by Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc of 215 unmarked graves of children who attended the former Kamloops Residential School in May of this year was a devastating catalyst that underlined the need for our country to collectively honour a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Across the country, Canadians will face the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in different ways. For those impacted by ongoing trauma related to residential schools, it’s a day to seek healing and community. For others on a personal learning journey towards reconciliation, it’s a day to continue learning and to seek stories and teachings from Indigenous voices.
United Way British Columbia and United Way Centraide Canada (UWCC) are committed to Indigenous reconciliation. Reconciliation is an opportunity for our organization and our network to honour Indigenous Peoples across this land by committing to acknowledge and work towards rectifying past wrongs. We have a responsibility as community-based organizations to increase our own understanding and help dismantle the legacy of colonialism.
United Ways serve and partner with Indigenous people in over 5,000 communities across the country, including here in B.C. We work with community experts to create more equitable access to supports and programs that enable opportunities for all people to reach their full potential.
On September 30 and every day, we seek to honour our Indigenous staff, partners, and volunteers here in British Columbia. We recognize the intergenerational trauma resulting from colonialism and the residential school system, and we hold space for you on your healing journey.
As we all consider personal journeys of reconciliation, there are many resources available to the public including Indigenous Residential School Survivors Society, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, and Equal Futures Network. Please see below for more information and resources.
Resources and Information on Truth and Reconciliation:
- National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation: https://nctr.ca/
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission 94 Calls to Action: https://www.rcaanc-cirnac.gc.ca/eng/1524494530110/1557511412801
- United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP): https://www.un.org/development/desa/indigenouspeoples/declaration-on-the-rights-of-indigenous-peoples.html
- Equal Futures Network: https://equalfuturesnetwork.ca/resources-for-truth-and-reconciliation/
- Orange Shirt Society: https://www.orangeshirtday.org/
- An Overview of the Indian Residential School System (from the Anishinabek Nation):
- What is Reconciliation? https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/video/what-reconciliation
- Telling our Twisted Histories, CBC Podcasts: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/cbc-podcasts/906-telling-our-twisted-histories
- Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild (CBC Radio), Sep. 25, 2021: Reconciliation reality check with Murray Sinclair: https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-105/clip/15868493
- Vancouver Public Library list of resources: https://www.vpl.ca/guide/indigenous-peoples-canada/residential-schools
Resources for Children
- Warrior Kids Podcast – Truth & Reconciliation Day: https://listen.stitcher.com/yvap/?af_dp=stitcher://episode/87015561&af_web_dp=https://www.stitcher.com/episode/87015561
- What is Reconciliation? CBC Kids News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEj5vjc2EDk
Support services for residential school survivors in British Columbia:
- The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a 24-hour, provincewide Indigenous crisis line for Indigenous peoples in B.C. Adults, call 250 723-4050. Children and youth, call 250 723-2040. Toll-free: 1 800 588-8717
- First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line for Indigenous people across Canada toll-free 1 855 242-3310 or chat online: https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/
- The Métis Crisis Line for Métis people in B.C., available 24 hours a day at 1 833 MétisBC: 1 833 638-4722
- Tsow Tun Le Lum for Indigenous peoples in B.C., phone: 1 888 403-3123
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society, phone: 1 800 721-0066 or 604 985-4464, https://www.irsss.ca/
- 24-Hour National Crisis Line for residential school survivors and others affected: 1 866 925-4419