Judy Sackaney and her grandson Creedence, 10, stand in front of an honor staff with tobacco ties at the Centennial Flame after participating in a Pipe Ceremony to honor the 215 children whose remains were found at the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP)
UPDATED 12:18 PM PT – Saturday, June 5, 2021
The chief of the Tk’emlups te Sewepemc First Nation in Canada said they want the Catholic Church to publicly apologize for the decades of abuse it inflicted on Indigenous students. Chief Rosanne Casimir’s statement came on Friday, one week after the remains of more than 215 children were discovered at a former residential school for Native students in British Columbia.
Investigators said they found evidence of widespread cultural genocide inside the institutions that separated Indigenous children from their families. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on Canada’s residential school system detailed the mistreatment of Indigenous children at the government-funded, Catholic Church run schools where at least 4,100 children were reported dead.
Casimir noted, “in the end, what we do want we do want an apology, a public apology, not just for us, but for the world who also shared in those suffrages. Holding the Catholic Church to account, there has never been an apology from the Roman Catholics.”
The chief went on to say, tribal members decided to keep the school buildings on the burial site as a reminder for future generations of where their culture and language was targeted to be eradicated.