Mayor’s Statement on the Kamloops Residential School

Jun 7, 2021

On Saturday, May 29, the District of West Vancouver lowered its flags to half mast until June 7. That’s today, and it doesn’t feel like enough time. At last Monday’s Council meeting, I expressed my heartfelt condolences, and I’d like to share those comments again. This issue needs to stay at the top of our minds.

“In recognition of the profound and deeply disturbing discovery of the remains of 215 children, on behalf of the District of West Vancouver, I want to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people—and to Indigenous communities across Canada—as we join them in mourning the 215 children whose remains were confirmed to be on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

On Saturday, West Vancouver’s flags were lowered to half-mast, where they will remain until June 7, one hour for each of the 215 children found in the mass grave.

Canada’s colonial system and policies towards Indigenous communities, including residential schools, are responsible for deep-rooted grief, trauma and loss. Our thoughts are with all Indigenous people who have been impacted by Canada’s residential schools and their devastating intergenerational effects.

Indigenous communities have spoken about the existence of unmarked graves of children at residential schools for decades. However, this news is significant, because it’s needed to compel those of us who are non-Indigenous to see the truth, acknowledge the terrible tragedy that has been perpetuated on Indigenous communities, and understand the significant work still required to bring about change.

We remain committed to upholding the Calls to Action identified by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including informing our residents and staff about the truth of what happened in residential schools.

I would like to take the next two minutes and fifteen seconds for a time of silence and reflection. This is a long time, I know, but we are honoring the precious lives of children. If we have our own children, we can reflect on the devastation and the impacts that would be felt by the acts that took place.”

Warm regards,

Mayor Mary-Ann Booth

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