RESPONDING TO THE RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS AND THE FINDING OF UNMARKED GRAVES:
As a small church in a small community, we are sobered by the very sad and yet not unexpected finding of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School and now at many more sites across the country.
We extend our sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of these precious young children, to the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc people, to those who survived the Kamloops School, and to all those who experienced the fallout of the Indian Residential School system in Canada including those from the Snuneymuxw First Nation on whose unceded traditional lands we live and meet. We grieve for them and for all the Indigenous peoples who may be reliving painful family and community memories at this time.
We recognize the fact that many relatives held out hope that they might somehow find boys and girls, young men and women, who had simply disappeared without explanation. May the heartfelt hope you have carried give way to the comfort that comes by the love and support of family, community, and healing helpers.
To those who will plan and perform ceremonies for these children, may you yourselves be carried as one with them, knit together, and held in a higher place. May the name of each child be called out and set down and may the life of each one be recounted so all Canadians can know something of who they were and what they were like in the better days of early family life.
May the truth that has been spoken out with courage over the past decades by the survivors of Residential Schools and more recently in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission be echoed again and again until all Canadians have ears to hear. May every detail we have heard be established as fact and be received finally and forever as truth, so that together we are able to take responsibility for a reconciled future.
May the survivors’ testimonies be set like stone in our memories and may each voice break open a new day in the lives of Indigenous peoples around the world.
Respectfully, The family of Gabriola Fellowship
Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Jesus (Matthew 19:14)
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Jesus (Luke 8:17)