We were deeply saddened to learn the news that the remains of 215 indigenous children were found in an unmarked burial site at the former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada.
These residential schools, also known as Native American boarding schools, were used in both the United States and Canada during the early 19th and 20th centuries to assimilate children into EuroAmerican culture. Indigenous children were removed from their homes and forced to attend, cutting them off from family, community, and culture. It is a dark and disturbing part of the long history of unconscionable mistreatment of Native Americans in North America, and this recent discovery brings to mind all the suffering that our first nations have endured.
This devastating and tragic news has impacted Indigenous communities, families and survivors of Native American boarding schools. I want to acknowledge the pain and grief of Indigenous members of our college and university communities, as well as those tribal communities across Arizona and the country, who may themselves have had personal connections to the traumas of this residential school legacy.
We acknowledge also the lives and spirits of these 215 children, the intergenerational grief and trauma that this act of cultural genocide has caused, and the pain it continues to inflict. We stand in solidarity with the many communities affected by this loss. Take 215 minutes to reflect and learn about this tragedy.
To learn about resources, recommended readings, and research on the American Indian boarding schools, the Committee on Inclusive Excellence recommends the following:
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition
American Indian Boarding Schools-Digital Public Library of America
Exploring the Stories Behind Native American Boarding Schools- Library of Congress
Volume 4: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada.
Information Hub: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Indian Country. National Indian Health Board
Indian Country Child Trauma Center (ICCTC) (405-271-8858)
A SAMHSA-funded program established to develop training, technical assistance, program development and resources on trauma-informed care to tribal communities. Oklahoma City-based center specializes in treatment of Native American children that live with trauma and sexual abuse. http://www.icctc.org/
These Indigenous crisis hotlines can provide support if you or someone you know needs help:
Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society: 1-888-403-3123 (7 days a week)
Kuu-Us Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717 (24/7)
Indian Residential School Survivor Support Line: 1-866-925-4419
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1800-273-TALK (8255)
Veterans Crisis Line: 1800-273-8255
Resilient Arizona Crisis Counseling Program
Dial 2-1-1 within Arizona
Dial 877-211-8661 from anywhere
AHCCCS Crisis Hotlines
StrongHearts Native HelpLine (844-762-8483) is a 24/7 safe, confidential and anonymous domestic, dating and sexual violence helpline for American Indians and Alaska Natives, offering culturally-appropriate support and advocacy.
StrongHearts Native Helpline's one-on-one chat sessions with advocates can be accessed by clicking on the “Chat Now” icon at strongheartshelpline.org
Best Wishes for Your Health and Safety,