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Acknowledging the Kamloops Tragedy: our flags at half-mast

May 31, 2021

The recent discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children in a mass grave in the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc territory is a devastating reminder of the horrific legacy of the Canadian residential school system, and the impact that it continues to have today.

This news has reignited pain and trauma for many. If you (or someone you know) is struggling, there is support available. Please do not navigate this alone.

  • The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419
  • The Indian Residential Schools Survivor Society: 1-800-721-0066
  • The Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Centre: 1-855-379-2099

To honour the lives of each child who never made it home to their family, flags at all provincial buildings – including all of our schools – have been lowered to half-mast for nine days, or 215 hours from sunrise today to sunset on Tuesday, June 8. This is a small but symbolic measure but it reminds us of societal harm done by the residential school system across the country, including Nova Scotia, and why it is so important that we continue on the path of Truth and Reconciliation.

Our Path Forward

We need to continue to educate, and to walk in partnership by affirming the survivors, their families and the generational harm caused by residential schools. We can do this if we keep asking ourselves what we can do as educators, administrators and staff to advance this important work and ensure that the lives, experiences, culture, and language of those in our system are respected, nurtured and treasured. These commitments are instrumental in realizing the promise of Inclusive Education. Through the development of deeper knowledge of Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaq, our treaties, and the ongoing need for Reconciliation, we will move our province and our country to be a better place.

We encourage you to join us, and act towards honouring the truth. What can you do?

HRCE’s Regional Coordinator of Mi’kmaw Education Services, Brittany Pennell, recommends the Imagine a Canada Teacher Guide from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. You can find it here in English and in French

There is so much more for us all to learn. We are all Treaty People.