The CFPC expresses sorrow following discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous children at a second residential school site
With heartfelt sorrow we grieve the recent discovery of 751 graves at the site of a former residential school on Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan. Seven hundred and fifty-one graves of mostly Indigenous children who were forcibly removed from their families and homes to unlearn their cultures and languages. Seven hundred and fifty-one families were left behind to live with the trauma of separation and loss.
This tragic discovery comes just a few weeks after the remains of 215 children were found buried in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. It is increasingly clear that more unmarked graves on the sites of other former residential schools across Canada may very well be found. Canadians from all walks of life must begin to reckon with this reality and the truth of our country’s harmful assimilation policies and residential schools.
We stand with Indigenous peoples and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in calling for a thorough investigation of all former residential school sites to account for all other missing Indigenous children and undocumented deaths related to these schools. Only after confronting the truth about this reality, which Indigenous peoples have known for a long time, can we all begin to repair the harms done and heal together.
The College of Family Physicians of Canada remains committed to combatting the systemic and direct racism experienced by Indigenous people in Canada today and to enhancing cultural safety and humility in medical education and training. In this moment we must take time to grieve the recent discoveries of lost loved ones and support all Indigenous peoples across the country during this difficult time.
The following resources are available for anyone in need of support:
- The Canadian Mental Health Association offers a list of mental health and wellness services for Indigenous children and youth
- The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is open 24 hours a day: 1-866-925-4419