On May 27th, 2021, The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of a mass burial site, located on the grounds of former Kamloops Indian Residential School, containing the remains of 215 children. While the genocidal horrors of the Residential School system are well known, such a discovery is both shocking and traumatic. The GSA wishes to express it’s deepest condolences and continued support to both the Indigenous community at Carleton, as well as those across Canada. 

This discovery comes in the wake of the continued failure of the Federal Government to adhere to the policies and procedures outlined in their platform, as well as those enshrined in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. Continued references to reconciliation and justice issued by both the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been proven hollow as steps to rectify and reverse ongoing colonialism have yet to be taken. 

It is important to note that such violent acts taken against the Indigenous communities of Canada are not historical. The oppressive processes of colonialism are ongoing, maintained through institutions such as the foster care system, the RCMP and policing services, and the ongoing lack of clean water available to hundreds of Indigenous communities across Canada. The GSA urges the Federal Government to take immediate action on initiatives such as the implement ALL of the TRC Calls to Action, the devotion of resources required to solve water advisories, the recognition of Indigenous rights to sovereignty, and halting development initiatives on Indigenous lands without free, prior, and informed consent of the Indigenous communities. 

What is the GSA doing?

The GSA is committed to upholding traditional Indigenous legal traditions and providing resources and support to all Indigenous Students. We are actively working to decolonize both our personal perspectives, as well as the GSA as an academic institution. We have, and will continue to send letters, emails and phone calls to federal representatives urging them to take immediate action on initiatives such as those above. The GSA will also continue to pressure Carleton to take steps towards decolonization, providing increased support for Indigenous communities, and taking concrete action to rectify historical and ongoing injustices. 

For any and all Indigenous students seeking support, please contact the following:

Indigenous Counsellor Rylee Godin, operating through the Center for Indigenous Initiatives, is available by appointment at ryleegodin@cunet.carleton.ca

For students seeking to meet with a knowledge keeper, appointments with Elder Barbara Dumant are available by contacting Theresa Hendrics at theresa.hendricks@carleton.ca

The 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available at 1-866-925-4419

Both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous students are able to reach out to the Carleton Health and Counselling Services available at 613-520-6674, Monday through Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm.

Feel free to contact any of the GSA Executives, or gsa@gsacarleton.ca, and we will do everything in our power to provide you with or direct you to the resources you require.

What can the GSA Community do?

As members of the GSA, we urge all students to call, write, and email their local MPs, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Indigenous Services, and the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. 

Mail for all federal government officials can be sent postage-free, addressed by name, to:

[Name of MP]

House of Commons 

Ottawa, Ontario,Canada

K1A 0A6

MPs and government officials can be reached individually by phone or email at::

Justin TrudeauPrime MinisterCatherine McKennaMP for Ottawa Center
justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca Catherine.McKenna@parl.gc.ca
613 992-4211613-946-8682
Marc MillerMinister of Indigenous ServicesCarolyn BennettMinister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

If you have the resources and are able to donate, please consider contributing to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at https://www.irsss.ca/donate

There is an ongoing petition calling for a National Day of Mourning for the Loss of Children of Residential Schools. Please consider signing here: https://www.change.org/p/justin-trudeau-call-for-a-national-day-of-mourning-for-the-lost-children-of-residential-school

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to the GSA Executives or Office.

In solidarity,

The GSA Executive Committee