Our statement and commitments following recent revelations from Kamloops Indian Residential School
We are heartbroken, outraged, and feel deeply for the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation community and all Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island following the horrors discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Last week, we learned the devastating news that the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the grounds of what was once Canada’s largest residential school. We humbly acknowledge the distressing memories this news evokes for Indigenous communities, and we hold that knowledge respectfully. We mourn these children, and we extend our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the survivors, their families, and all Indigenous Peoples across Canada.
The discovery of these 215 children reveals that there are likely hundreds more still missing. As called out by others, 215 children means that 430 parents and 860 grandparents never knew the truth of what happened to their loved ones. It means generations of terrorizing loss and trauma.
The legacy of the horrors of colonization continues to exist today. Many say this discovery is a reminder of Canada’s “dark chapter” in history and paint the effects of residential school systems as a memory of the distant past. However, across Canada, generations of Indigenous communities are currently living with the trauma and legacy of residential schools and colonization. There are survivors amongst us, with the last residential school closing in 1996. As some survivors returned to their home communities, the impacts of their institutionalization in residential schools continue to be felt by successive generations. The inequities faced by Indigenous communities to this day are rooted in this shameful history of genocide meant to wipe away their languages, religions, culture, and ways of life.
It is our responsibility, living on the unceded and ancestral lands of Indigenous Peoples without permission, to do our part to move forward with reconciliation and share their truth. There cannot be reconciliation for families and communities without truth. We must all face and understand Canada’s past to create a better today for Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island.
Canadian Equality Consulting has a dispersed team across what is now known as Canada and would like to acknowledge that we are headquartered on the unceded and traditional territory of Treaty 7 and oral practices of the Blackfoot Confederacy (Siksika, Kainai, Piikani), as well as the Stoney Nakoda and Tsuut’ina Nations, and Metis Nation of Alberta Region 3. However, we are also located on the territories of the Haudenosaunee, Anishinabewaki, Attiwonderonk, and the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation on Treaty 14 land in Halton, Ontario, the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples on Treaty 13 and the Williams Treaties in Toronto, and the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations in Vancouver, BC.
Canadian Equality Consulting wishes to reaffirm our support and commitment to the full Truth & Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action. We also want to specifically highlight Call to Action # 92 – Business and Reconciliation.
We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
- Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
- Ensure that Aboriginal peoples have equitable access to jobs, training, and education opportunities in the corporate sector, and that Aboriginal communities gain long-term sustainable benefits from economic development projects.
- Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
A Commitment to Meaningful Consultation and Building of Respectful Relationships
Canadian Equality Consulting commits to doing more to actively work towards Indigenous Peoples’ truth to be told. We will create and nurture the space for meaningful consultation to be held by Indigenous Peoples and continue working closely alongside Indigenous Peoples to allow for truth to be told and consent to be given.
A Commitment to Ongoing Education and Growth
We commit to doing more to further our own education and growth internally. We will hold more frequent Indigenous reconciliation training sessions for our team, taught by Indigenous instructors. We will require that professional reconciliation education programs and courses be taken by employees, such as the4 Seasons of Reconciliation Program. We will educate ourselves through a book club focused on Indigenous work, and video learning through recommendations by Indigenous Peoples.
A Commitment to Allyship in Reconciliation
We commit to doing more to amplify Indigenous voices and build awareness externally. We will do this through meaningful client consultations, co-creating knowledge-building resource sheets to send to clients, holding webinars hosted by Indigenous Peoples for awareness building and action planning, and continuing to share knowledge through our social media platforms.
A Financial Commitment
We commit to using profits from training programs and speaking fees we incur to donate to organizations across the country that are working to support survivors and further reconciliation. Our first donation will be made to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society
An Invitation to Join us
We invite you to follow the calls to action in the TRC report along with us, as we continue to learn more and center Indigenous Peoples in all the work we do and actively listen and then act according to our values of courage, empathy, equity and creativity.
Together, we must do more.
The CEC Team
Marcie, Ivana, Winnie, Makda, Anisha, James, Samara, Nikita and Yasmin.