Ottawa, June 30, 2021 – On recent discoveries of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools in Kamloops, British Columbia, and in Marieval, Saskatchewan, and at the end of National Indigenous History Month, Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) issued the following statement:
“We stand with the people of the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan and the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia and with all Indigenous communities in Canada as more searches are conducted to locate, identify, and honour all the victims of residential schools.
- You have our support and the support of colleges and institutes and their technical teams, like the one from Saskatchewan Polytechnic that the Cowessess First Nation partnered with in their search of the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School.
Over 95% of all Canadians and over 86% of Indigenous people live within 50 km of a college or institute location. Colleges and institutes are not only the primary access point to post-secondary education for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners, they also offer community support services and, in many cases, technical expertise for community-based research.
As the national association representing colleges and institutes, our member institutions are our strongest asset, and we pledge to do everything we can to connect First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities with the resources available at their local institution.
- If you are a First Nations, Métis, or Inuit community looking for technical expertise to search or map sites of former residential schools, contact us and we will connect you with your local institution.
Even as we celebrate Indigenous history and culture throughout the month of June, discoveries like those in Kamloops and Marieval remind us of what was lost through policies of assimilation and cultural genocide.
On the eve of Canada Day, we also remember the urgency of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action to ensure that we build an equitable and inclusive future for all Canadians.”
About Colleges and Institutes Canada:
Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan) is the voice of Canada’s publicly-supported colleges, institutes, cegeps and polytechnics, and an international leader in education for employment with ongoing programs in over 25 countries. CICan’s members add over $190B to Canada’s economy each year and contribute to inclusive economic growth by working with industry and community partners to offer more than 10,000 programs to learners in urban, rural, remote, and northern communities.
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