The tragic discovery of the unmarked burials of 215 Indigenous children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School reminds us of the horrors perpetrated against First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people. Indigenous communities have spoken the truths of the atrocities for a long time; survivors have provided chilling testimony of the Indian Residential school system where education was used as a tool of oppression. It is time we listen.
The Museum of Anthropology at UBC stands with all Indigenous peoples at this time of mourning and widespread sorrow. We acknowledge that museums also carry responsibility for the harms perpetuated against Indigenous peoples through the colonial system. We must also act. The museum adds its voice to UBC’s call to help uncover the truth about the missing children and to honour their lives in ways determined appropriate by their families and communities. In support of the findings and recommendations of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, we reaffirm our commitment to raising society’s awareness of Canada’s colonial history and the cultural genocide practiced against Indigenous peoples. We will continue to work to promote the understanding and healing necessary for change.