The federal government has designated September 30 as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Archive/Counter-Archive network would like to acknowledge the harm that was done to Indigenous peoples, the lasting impact of Canada’s policies, and the strength, resilience, and perseverance of Indigenous communities in the face of such oppression. We recognize the devastating discovery of the remains of 215 children found buried at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in late May, uncovered on the traditional territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc people. We have learned about 160 unmarked graves near the Kuper Island industrial school on Penelakut Island in B.C., 182 unmarked graves at St. Eugene’s residential school near Cranbrook B.C., 751 on the grounds of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, 104 children found at the Brandon residential school in Manitoba, 38 in Regina, and 35 in Lestock, Saskatchewan. More investigations are in progress, and the truths known by communities will continue to be publicly affirmed. It is with deep sadness, anger, and grief that we send our support to Indigenous members of the A/CA network and all those who are witnessing and mourning the discoveries with their communities.
Following the call from Cindy Blackstock, and the motion put forward by NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, we must continue to pressure the Liberal government to stop fighting Indigenous children and residential school Survivors in court, to stop blocking the creation of statistical reports on residential school abuse claims, and to directly transfer records to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Archive/Counter-Archive network stands with Indigenous leaders, including former Chief Manny Jules of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and the Honorable Murray Sinclair, TRC Chair, in demanding that the Roman Catholic church, along with other denominations who ran residential schools, release and return their records.The systematic refusal and destruction of records sustains the devastating legacy of colonial violence against Indigenous communities. Preservation and access to residential school records and Survivor accounts will aid in truth, education, justice, and accountability.
As a network, Archive/Counter-Archive is dedicated to doing the work to facilitate conversations and take action to support the decolonization of memory institutions.