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May 31, 2021

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) mourns and honours the 215 Indigenous children found on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory who died at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The discovery of these missing children is a reminder of the horrors of the residential school system, the last of which closed in 1996. It also confirms the knowledge of community survivors who said for decades that hundreds of children who were brought to the school went missing.

As identified by Justice Murray Sinclair, chair of the the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, it is estimated that more than 6,000 children died at residential schools, never returning home. The OFL echoes the call by Indigenous leaders, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Missing Children’s Project, for a nationwide probe for unmarked graves at former residential schools.

These tragic and undocumented deaths are a crime against humanity that are part of Canada’s long history of genocide that continues to this day. First Nations, Métis and Inuit people continue to face major inequities including disproportionate representation within the child-welfare and criminal justice systems, lack of access to clean drinking water, ongoing infringements on Indigenous lands, and inequitable access to healthcare. Canada must do more to reconcile the destructive impacts of the residential school system and to rectify the ongoing impacts of colonization.

The OFL joins the call for the Ontario government to institute an annual Day of Mourning and Remembrance for those lost to residential schools and for survivors. We are committed to actively working in solidarity with First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities and to continue advocating for the implementation of the 94 recommendations issued by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Take Action:

The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide 24/7 support to residential school survivors and others who are affected. Call 1 (866) 925-4419.

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