Archives Association of Ontario Statement on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation's discovery of an unmarked burial site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

On May 27th, 2021, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of an unmarked burial site of 215 children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The Archives Association of Ontario (AAO) wishes to express our deepest condolences to the families of the victims, the survivors, and all Indigenous peoples impacted by the discovery. We recognize that the findings serve as yet another example of the atrocities committed and enabled by white settlers, their churches and religious institutions, and the Government of Canada.  We acknowledge the intergenerational trauma carried by Indigenous peoples as a result of systemic racism and the residential school system.

As archival workers, we understand the power held by records, information, and knowledge. We also understand the role that archives and archival collections play in revealing truths, highlighting oppression, and documenting injustice. We call on archival workers and information specialists in Ontario to endeavour to make archival material holdings related to the residential school system available to Indigenous communities and to those who require access to assist in locating and naming the victims of residential schools. In doing so, we ask that care is shown for those who may be re-traumatized by these records.

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