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Canada Tk’emlúps leaders' open letter set steps for PM to prove commitment to reconciliation

21:35  19 october  2021
21:35  19 october  2021 Source:   msn.com

B.C. school once slated to be built on cemetery offers reconciliation hope: advocate

  B.C. school once slated to be built on cemetery offers reconciliation hope: advocate NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — The relocation of the construction of a secondary school in New Westminster, B.C., once planned to be built over a cemetery not used in a century, is an example of reconciliation in action, an advocate says. New Westminster Secondary School officially opened Thursday after three years of construction. The former school, which was declared seismically unsafe, sits on top of a cemetery used by the Indigenous, Chinese and Sikh communities.Hospital patients from a psychiatric asylum, the indigent andexecuted prisoners were also buried there from the mid-1800s to 1920.

KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Senior members of a British Columbia First Nation have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that offers seven immediate steps he could take to show he is serious about reconciliation.

  Tk’emlúps leaders' open letter set steps for PM to prove commitment to reconciliation © Provided by The Canadian Press

The letter from family heads of the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation comes a day after Trudeau visited their territory in Kamloops for the first time since more than 200 unmarked graves were found in May at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

In the open letter published in the Globe and Mail, the 13 family heads, including former Tk’emlúps chief Manny Jules, say they believe Trudeau wouldn't have visited "were it not for the grim reality of these unmarked graves."

Trudeau to visit Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation in Kamloops, B.C.

  Trudeau to visit Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation in Kamloops, B.C. KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to visit Kamloops, B.C., today, where the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation announced it had found what are believed to be some 200 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school last spring. Since May, numerous Indigenous nations have reported finding unmarked graves at former residential schools with the same ground-penetrating radar technology used in Kamloops, prompting calls for justice that have resonated across the world.

They say they "want to believe the sincerity" of the prime minister's comments about the importance of reconciliation but urge him to commit to "seven real acts" to add action to his words.

Those include repatriating any remains of former students found on the grounds of the Kamloops residential school, creating a permanent memorial at the site and building a healing and education centre.

No one from the Prime Minister's Office was immediately available to comment on the  letter.

The open letter also calls for control over taxation, rights and resources across Tk’emlúps territories, recognition of that control by the courts, and the lowering of the Canadian flag to half-mast every Sept. 30 "in memory of the lost cultures, languages, childhoods and lives taken by residential schools."

Trudeau to visit B.C. First Nation and Canadian kidnapped: In The News for Oct. 18

  Trudeau to visit B.C. First Nation and Canadian kidnapped: In The News for Oct. 18 In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of Monday, Oct. 18 What we are watching in Canada KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to visit Kamloops, B.C., today, where the Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc Nation announced it had found what are believed to be some 200 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school last spring.

Trudeau apologized several times Monday for not attending events in Kamloops to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30. He was on vacation in Tofino.

Tk'emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir told Trudeau on Monday that to truly honour the Sept. 30 date and the families whose children did not come home, flags should be flown at half-mast on that day.

The prime minister agreed, saying flags will always be lowered and a flag designed by the National Council for Truth and Reconciliation will be flown. "There will be an opportunity for all Canadians, non-Indigenous Canadians to reflect on the country we live in."

A similar petition seeking rights and title was presented by Tk'emlups ancestors to prime minister Wilfrid Laurier in 1910, the letter says.

That petition was not only rejected, "but the federal government supported the genocide of our people through the creation of residential schools, took away our voting rights, prevented our legal challenges relating to the title of our land, reduced the size of our reserves and formally removed our fiscal powers to ensure our sustainability," it says.

The letter says Canada will never achieve reconciliation "through words, apologies and mere signals of virtue," and adds that hard work lies ahead, pointing to a closing sentence in the 111-year-old petition to Laurier that they say remains true today.

"So long as what we consider justice is withheld from us, so long will dissatisfaction and unrest exist among us and we will continue to struggle to better ourselves."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2021.

The Canadian Press

Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc invites Pope to visit and deliver long-awaited apology on visit to Canada .
The Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Nation on Thursday invited Pope Francis to visit their community and meet with survivors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School during his visit to Canada.A statement from the nation said it would "be deeply meaningful" if the Pope came to the community in person and delivered an apology for the Catholic Church's role in running residential schools.

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