As we mourn the loss of the lives of 215 children whose remains were recently located at the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk’emlups, we have come face-to-face with the real legacy of Canada’s genocide of Indigenous peoples. In response to this discovery, we commit to seeking truth and reconciliation through solidarity action with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis across Alberta and Canada.
Our coalition of civil society and labour organizations stands with the Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations and other first nations and communities in Treaty 7 and Treaty 8 to echo the call for the provincial and federal government to immediately implement an action plan with all First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities to locate the graves of the thousands of missing Indigenous children so that proper cultural protocols can be observed.
We must all support the call for the searches of all identified sites. The families that have been torn apart by this brutal system must be able to honour their lost generations of children. Settler Canadians everywhere must also grapple with the violence of this system and its enduring impacts. We must collectively strive for justice, equity, and restitution.
Indian Residential Schools are not ancient history - the last school closed in 1996 – a mere 25 years ago. This has been happening in our lifetimes and continues to have devastating impacts. The forced separation of children from their families and communities is the targeted attempt to destroy the cultures, traditions and languages and, ultimately, to destroy the Indigenous people of this land.
Our coalition, representing hundreds of thousands of Albertans across the province, echoes the demands of First Nations and Indigenous communities and peoples across the province that the provincial government work immediately with First Nations to implement an action plan to locate these graves so that culturally appropriate protocols can finally occur. This is the very least our provincial government can do.
The residential school crisis line at 1-866-925-4419 is open and available for those seeking support.
Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculties Association (ACIFA)
Alberta Arts Action
Alberta Federation of Labour (AFL)
Alberta Fire Fighters Association (AFFA)
Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA)
Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Alberta
Confederation of Alberta Faculty Associations (CAFA)
Edmonton & District Labour Council (EDLC)
Eyes Forward: Protect our Health Care
Friends of Medicare (FOM)
Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
Non-Academic Staff Association of the University of Alberta (NASA)
Public Interest Alberta (PIA)
Seniors Action and Liaison Team (SALT)