‘To Indigenous students, & community members, please take care of yourself’: Four Directions releases statement addressing Kamloops Indian Residential School burial sites

Campus flags will be lowered for the next nine days

Queen’s community recognizes the atrocities committed at Kamloops Indian Residential School.

This article discusses the atrocities committed in Residential Schools and may be triggering for some readers. Those seeking support may contact the Office of Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation or Four Directions. For immediate assistance, the National Indian Residential School Crisis Hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

Flags on campus will be lowered for 215 hours, one hour for each child taken, in acknowledgement of the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nations’ loss of their children.

“4D stands with Indigenous communities in our shared grief over the loss of life and its impacts on all the generations,” Kandice Baptiste, director of Four Directions, wrote in a public statement on Facebook.

“Those little ones would have been language speakers, knowledge holders, parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunties. The profound loss of the potential they had to be loved and show love, and the legacies of what might have been, is unimaginable and impossible to process and comprehend,” the statement continues.

“To Indigenous students, and community members, please take care of yourself. We all feel the impacts of the residential school system and we do not need to have direct experience to understand and live with the effects. All feelings of rage and grief are valid, and we hold you in our minds and send all the care we can offer at this time.”

“Indigenous children are gifts to the world and are proof that settler colonialism and the residential school system did not work.”

University administration also issued a statement, signed by Principal Patrick Dean, Vice Principal Mark Green (Academic), and Associate Vice Principal (Indigenous Initiatives and Reconciliation) Kanonhsyonne Janice Hill.

“The knowledge that so much harm was done to innocent children in the name of education is simply abhorrent.”

On June 2 at 1:00 p.m., the Indigenous Teacher Education Program will be hosting an Indigenous Wellness Circle in honour of the children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. This circle is open to Indigenous community members, faculty, staff, students, and allies.

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