Peel Children’s Aid Society is deeply saddened by the recent discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the former residential school site in Saskatchewan. We stand with the Cowessess First Nation, and all residential school survivors and their families across Canada, in mourning for all the children who never returned home.
It is with profound sadness that Peel CAS offers condolences to the Cowessess First Nation community, and to all Indigenous communities grieving this tragedy. Tragically, this horrendous discovery comes on the heels of a similar gravesite found in Kamloops, B.C. These discoveries remind us all of a painful chapter in Canadian history, when generations of children were stolen from their families and communities and were treated with brutality and disdain.
While we feel immense pain, sadness, grief and anger regarding this news, we recognize that Indigenous communities in Canada have been living with the trauma, tragedy and legacy of the Residential School System for more than a century.
All Canadians must learn about the history of residential schools, the impacts of colonization, and the racial oppression that amounts to cultural genocide by the Canadian government toward Indigenous Peoples. There is much work to be done to address the inequities, pain and suffering caused by colonization. These inequities are rooted in racism and our shameful treatment of Indigenous communities and cultures.
Peel CAS recognizes that it is our responsibility to not only learn and remember the truth about the past but work towards Truth and Reconciliation. This recent tragedy reinforces the need for us to move forward on our continuing implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 calls to action.
Peel CAS believes that it is our collective duty to remember and seek justice for the victims of the residential school system. We stand firm in our commitment to the advancement of reconciliation and cultural safety for Indigenous Peoples.
If you are in need of support, you can contact the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line 24-hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.