tkwəɬniwt (Westbank), Syilx Territory: On June 26, 2021, a convoy of Syilx leaders, Indian Residential School survivors, their families (intergenerational), elders, members, and youth from across the Nation journeyed from sn’pinktn (Penticton) to the Kamloops Indian Residential School. This caravan is a direct response to the lack of justice in the face of recent discovery of the burial sites of 215 children at Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) and 751 children at the Marieval Indian Residential School reported by the Cowessess First Nation. This Caravan gathered our people together in unity to support the survivors and each other through the emotional impacts of the recent findings. It also brought awareness to all those that are just now finding their relatives, as well as demonstrating our support for and alliance with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc.
As the Caravan went through various municipalities it drew out supporters and allies that acknowledged the Caravan from the sides of the roads. The Caravan ended with a powerful ceremony at KIRS, including a song led by Syilx children and youth, a clear statement of resilience of Syilx culture in the face of colonial violence.
Chief Clarence Louie states that, “Today we have come together as a Nation to support each other, our families and ultimately our Nation. The truth of the matter is that these missing children have been known about all along, our Syilx Indian Residential School survivors has been calling it out for years. To date, the Government of Canada has failed at taking any meaningful action or accountability for these atrocities. At this point we are demanding local, provincial and federal officials finally step up to the plate, take direct action on finding justice for these children, and begin implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action.”
Syilx Indian Residential School survivors recently demanded at an Indian Residential School Gathering that “Colonial institutions like residential schools have tried to rob us of our identity, but we are resilient. We need to continue to gather as we always have to continue to pass our culture and language down so that we can thrive for generations to come.”
The Syilx Indian Residential School (SIRS) Committee is a group of highly dedicated, intergenerational Syilx Indian Residential School survivors. The SIRS Committe is invaluable in providing direction to the Nation on numerous projects regarding the Indian Residential Schools. This Committee, represented by the seven member communities, has expressed that they feel a sense of belonging and healing from participating on this Committee. They have a true ownership role in ensuring projects move forward, taking into account their knowledge and experience. For more information on the Syilx Indian Residential School experience visit: www.syilx.org/wellness/indian-residential-school/
For more information contact:
Tara Montgomery, ONA Communications Lead
T: 1-250-707-0095 ext. 120