OTTAWA, ON – In wake of the tragic discovery of the remains of 215 children found on the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) recommitted to urgently advancing the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
“Yesterday’s meeting of FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus began with a solemn discussion on the recent horrifying discovery in Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation and Kamloops, BC,” said BCMC Chair, Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson. “This event is a tragedy for the families that were torn apart—and a terrible reminder of Canada’s shameful legacy of residential schools. Canada’s big city mayors acknowledged the intergenerational harm that this continues to inflict on First Nation, Inuit and Métis communities across the country.”
“On behalf of FCM’s 2,000 member municipalities, we extend our deepest condolences to families and survivors of residential schools during this moment of collective grief,” said FCM President Garth Frizzell. “FCM has formally recognized the duty of municipal leaders to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, and to acknowledge the profound ways in which the legacy of residential schools continues to affect the lives of First Nation, Inuit and Métis peoples. We commit today to increasing our work in this necessary pursuit.”
FCM and the BCMC are supporting calls for a national day of mourning for the children of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, whose lives were taken far too soon. FCM and the caucus also lend their support to a national initiative to identify, commemorate and protect residential school burial sites across Canada, a process that must be Indigenous-led and carried out through ceremony. Frizzell acknowledged that this process will take time and require the support of all levels of government, and municipal leaders are committed to being partners in this effort.
“With National Indigenous History Month upon us, this is a moment for leaders in every order of government across the country to recognize the enduring trauma of the residential school system,” said Frizzell. “This is a moment for reflection, but also meaningful action.”
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