Mourning 215 Indigenous Children

June 1st, 2021 - Defence Stories

This message deals with topics that may cause trauma invoked by memories of past abuse. We recognize some individuals may not want to read further to minimize the risk of being triggered.

It is with sadness that our nation was made aware of the shameful and tragic discovery of the 215 Indigenous children buried at a Canadian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia this past week. This tragedy sheds even more light on the horrible realities surrounding Residential Schools, and the systemic racism which all Indigenous people and families continue to endure.

To all of our Indigenous Defence Team members – as well as their families, we want to express our sincerest sympathies and condolences. Our hearts and prayers are with you.

This mass grave is a traumatic reminder of the pain Indigenous people, parents, family members and communities felt, and continue to feel, for their children who were taken and for those who never returned home. We have a responsibility to support our colleagues and their families to ensure they are provided with the support and resources to manage this heartbreaking discovery.

For any public service employees or families affected, we encourage you to utilize the various options for support and resources:

For members of the Canadian Armed Forces, these additional resources are available to you and your families:

Beyond these resources – speak to a friend, family member, your supervisor, or a mental health professional – do not grieve alone.

As we migrate through the weeks and months ahead, please continue to hold space for your Indigenous colleagues, employees, and friends who may be processing this trauma. Continue to educate yourself, and contribute to actions to keep Indigenous children safe and thriving in Canada.

Thank you,

Kin Choi
ADM (HR-Civ)

LGen Steven Whelan
Chief of Military Personnel 

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