This week marks one year since the Secwépemc Nation’s announcement of the discovery of unmarked graves on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site. They are believed to hold the remains of up to 215 children who died at the school.

Yesterday, BC’s First Nations Health Authority shared a statement saying that:

“While this reality was spoken about in the community, the confirmation of their oral history regarding their Le Estcwicwe̓y̓ (the missing) children who attended the residential school has had a national and international impact. These 215 children were beloved family and community members; they will never be forgotten.

Over the past year, the leadership of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc for all First Nation people in the ongoing legacy of the residential school system has been clearly evident. The discovery by Secwépemc has led to greater investigations across Canada to find more missing children at former residential school sites, including making use of ground-penetrating radar. The Tk’emlúps invitation to the Vatican and apology from Pope Francis were significant steps in working forward.”

On this painful anniversary, the BC College of Family Physicians (BCCFP) joins the FNHA in offering our ongoing support to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community and all BC First Nations as they continue the hard work of healing and moving their communities forward.

As a signatory to the FNHA’s Declaration of Commitment to Cultural Safety and Humility, the BCCFP is committed to promoting cultural safety and humility in the practice of family medicine.

We acknowledge that family physicians cannot treat the immediate health concerns of their patients without understanding and addressing the underlying factors (social, economic, historical) that give rise to poor health. The intergenerational trauma caused by the residential school system continues to reverberate through the lives and wellness of all those who were effected by this tragic period in our history.

We will continue to support our members in the delivery of culturally safe care, in the hopes that we can contribute to increased mental, physical, and emotional wellness of Indigenous Peoples across BC.

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