The month of June is National Indigenous History Month — a time for all Canadians to celebrate and appreciate the unique histories, cultures, and contributions of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people.
We cannot move forward without recognizing the tragic and devastating treatment the indigenous people suffered. The discovery of a mass grave where 215 children were buried is heartbreaking! and devastating. As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau so eloquently stated, “a painful reminder of that dark and shameful chapter of our country’s history.”
Indian Residential Schools were boarding schools run by the government and the church. Children were stolen from their families and they were stripped of their dignity. They were punished for speaking their own languages; they suffered physical and sexual abuse. Can you imagine that the last residential schools closed in Saskatchewan in 1996! The impact of residential schools is still very alive specially among the survivors and continue to have a significant impact on Indigenous communities.
A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. Emotional and crisis referral services are available by calling the 24-hour national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.