Island Health observed a moment of silence today to honour and respect the 215 Indigenous children found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops. It said the moment of silence was observed at 2:15 p.m. across all of its sites.
“We paused at this particular time to reflect on the tragic impact of residential schools, colonialism and systemic racism on Indigenous people and their communities,” said Island Health president and CEO Kathy MacNeil. “We encourage all Vancouver Island residents to find time for quiet reflection today.”
Island Health said there were at least five residential schools in the region:
Alberni Indian Residential School – Port Alberni (1917 – 1973)
Ahousaht Indian Residential School – Ahousaht (1901 – 1950)
Christie Residential School – Meares Island (1900 – 1983)
Kuper Island Indian Residential School – Penelakut Island (1890 – 1975)
St. Michael’s Residential School – Alert Bay (1929 – 1975)
“That this situation exists is sadly not a surprise and illustrates the damaging and lasting impacts that the residential school system continues to have on First Nations people, their families and communities,” said Richard Jock, CEO of the First Nations Health Authority.
“We will continue to provide culturally safe mental health and wellness programs that support BC First Nations who are traumatized by these tragic events.