We acknowledge and honour the 215 children whose unmarked graves were found at Kamloops Indian Residential School last week. Their deaths, as well as their short lives as residential school victims, are acts of terrible violence.
These 215 children represent only a small fraction of those who have lost their language, culture, families, and lives to the residential school system in Canada and the residential school system is only one element of ongoing colonialism and cultural genocide in Canada.
As birth workers, and as Doula Canada, it is our responsibility to name and resist the ways in which colonialism and cultural genocide show up in our work: in the practice of birth alerts; in the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in child welfare systems; in the erasure, dismissal, and coopting of Indigenous birth practices; in the systemic oppression present in healthcare settings; in the ongoing violence perpetuated against Indigenous children and families; in intergenerational trauma that this has caused. As Doula Canada, we are holding ourselves accountable for how these show up in our curriculum, teaching, and engagement with members. This work is imperfect, ongoing, and necessary.
We send our love and rage to our Indigenous members, colleagues, friends, clients, and families. We are so very sorry for your children.
Indian Residential School Survivors Society: https://www.irsss.ca/
Plain Talk Residential Schools Guide, Assembly of First Nations: https://education.afn.ca/afntoolkit/learning-module/residential-schools/
Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc (Kamloops Indian Band) Office of the Chief May 27, 2021 Press Release: https://tkemlups.ca/wp-content/uploads/05-May-27-2021-TteS-MEDIA-RELEASE.pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings and Calls to Action: http://www.trc.ca/about-us/trc-findings.html
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Missing Children Project: http://www.trc.ca/events-and-projects/missing-children-project.html
Canada’s Residential Schools: Missing Children and Unmarked Burials: The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Volume 4 (available for purchase in English and French):
CBC Docs: My auntie survived residential school. I need to gather her stories before she’s gone.:
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: