For anyone in need of support please contact the 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.
The OCAD Student Union extends our condolences to the Indigenous community and all those affected by the recent discovery of the 215 children buried at the church-run institution Kamloops Indian Residential School. We believe that the truth must be sought and acknowledged. This recent discovery reflects Canada’s long and on-going history of colonial violence and cultural genocide. The establishment of residential schools was a part of Canada’s colonial project, and was significantly funded by the government of Canada through the Indian Act.
A total of 139 residential schools were put in place to force and displace Indigenous children from their communities, homes, family and loved ones. They were forced to assimilate to colonial systems, were forbidden to speak their Indigenous language and practice their culture. Children who did not follow these violent rules suffered horrific consequences. We know that survivors of the residential schools have endured physical, mental and sexual abuse, and in order to truly move forward, Canada must be held accountable for their years of commiting cultural genocide.
It was not until 1997 that residential schools were officially shut down by the Canadian Government. Without proper acknowledgement, or reconcilliation through acts like reparations, returning of land, reforming the child welfare system and providing basic human rights like access to clean water, this cultural genocide is still ongoing and will continue. We recognize the intergenerational trauma and the insurmountable pain that continues to inflict Indigenous communities and individuals today.
We ask students and community members of OCAD University to stand in solidarity with students at “Ryerson” University and support their call to rename ‘Ryerson” University. For more information on X university, follow @wreckonciliation_x_university on instagram, and show your support, by signing the petition at tinyurl.com/rename-ryerson or through the link in our instagram bio.
We have also compiled a list of organizations and resources for individuals in need of support or looking to educate themselves on the history of Residential Schools, and the ongoing violence that the Canadian Government is committing against Indigenous communities. The resource list can be accessed here.