There have been over ＿ unmarked graves of Indigenous children found at former residential schools across Canada. We have chosen to leave the number blank. There will be more unmarked graves found. The lives and memories of lost generations of Indigenous children confirmed to us settlers, yet known for generations to the First Nations, Inuit and Métis. In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) was able to identify around 4,100 children who had died at these schools due to serial neglect, abuse and disease. When every former residential school is searched, and all the unmarked graves counted, it still won’t account for all the lives lost.
The path to reconciliation is a long and likely unending one. We wrestle with the sins of colonization’s past and present. The onus is on settlers to recognize the injustices of the past as foundational to our way of life. We have all been dragging our feet on truth, justice, and reconciliation. Public institutions, elected officials, and corporate organizations invest more time and energy in small performative acts that they perceive as large acts of ‘enough’. The oppressor doesn’t get to tell the oppressed when they are liberated. The colonizer doesn’t get to decide when reconciliation has happened. In 2015, the TRC outlined 94 calls to action, and that only scratches the surface when it comes to reconciliation.
In the past week, the world witnessed the seas on fire twice: in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caspian Sea. Indigenous Peoples from Brazil to Australia to Suriname to Congo to Canada have warned us about taking from the earth. Greed and pipelines. The effects of climate change have destroyed the town of Lytton, BC including property located on the Lytton First Nation Reserve. By all accounts, the people of the Lytton First Nation were an afterthought in the government of British Columbia’s response plan. Indigenous People have protested and given their lives to protect the earth. Their land has been stolen; their culture, language and identities criminalized and erased. Yet, the keepers of the land do not seek revenge, but harmony.
insideWaterloo is located in Waterloo Region, which is located on the traditional territories of the Chonnoton, Anishnaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples, which is part of The Haldimand Tract.
As we work to create space in a colonizer’s industry, we are also creating space on land that belongs to the Indigenous Peoples. Therefore, the space that insideWaterloo holds also belongs to the Indigenous people. The space we offer to Indigenous voices is a part of our reconciliation journey.
We hope you continue to support us in that endeavour. We hope you are on your own reconciliation journey.
~The insideWaterloo Team
If you are experiencing pain or distress resulting from residential schools, or are in need of support, you can call:
Indian Residential School Survivors and Family Hotline: 1-866-925-4419
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868
First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310
Native Youth Crisis Hotline: 1-877-209-1266