Trigger Warning: This blog contains references to residential schools and trauma experienced by Indigenous Peoples.
The month of June is National Indigenous History Month - the time of year recognized by Isa Mundo Foundation as the time to celebrate the rich history, traditions, cultures and languages of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. We are proud to have a presence in Coast Salish territories that are shared by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tseil-Waututh Nations (Vancouver) and in the Algonquin, Anishinabek territory (Ottawa).
It is not enough to simply acknowledge the space and land we live, work and play, it is more important to listen to stories of Indigenous Peoples, acknowledge and respect the role of Indigenous Peoples in shaping Canada, learn our true history and work collaboratively and in partnership with Indigenous communities to progress reconciliation and healing in our country.
On May 27th, the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation (Kamloops, BC) announced the discovery of 215 unmarked graves of children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. And on June 24th, the Cowessess First Nation announced a preliminary finding of 751 unmarked graves at a cemetery near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.
These heartbreaking discoveries remind us of our country's dark history and how these horrific institutions and assimilation policies were designed to remove cultures, traditions, languages and identity of Indigenous children. As a nation, we have more to learn about our true history and that we can no longer ignore the impact and legacy of residential schools and the injustice towards Indigenous Peoples. We need to listen to Indigenous Peoples on how to move forward, allow healing to happen and begin the long journey to reconciliation.
Isa Mundo will continue to work with local Indigenous community members on how to best support further education of Indigenous history, cultures and knowledge. We will seek guidance on how to partner and collaborate with Indigenous communities moving forward.
We encourage all our members and volunteers to read and review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action as the foundation of our learning journey.
The Indian Residential School Crisis Line can provide support for survivors and those affected by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Image design courtesy of b.wyse Coast Salish Art.