Tk’ekmlups te Secwepemc Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir confirmed the loss that was spoken about but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential school.
With the help of a ground-penetrating radar specialist, it was confirmed that the remains of 215 children were buried near the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential school.
“We had a knowing in our community that we were able to verify. To our knowledge, these missing children are undocumented deaths,” says Kupki Casimir, “some were as young as three years old. We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlups te Secwepemc is the final resting place of these children.”
Casimir says she and Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Council reached out to their community members to make them aware of the situation, and that it is still developing.
Tk’emlups te Secwepemc says they will be following necessary steps regarding these findings, which includes:
- Engaging with the coroner
- Reaching out to the home communities who had children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School
- Taking measures to ensure the locations of the remains are protected
- The Secwepemc Museum Archivist is working with the Royal British Columbia Museum, amongst others, to seek out any existing records of these deaths.
“This is the beginning, but given the nature of this news, we felt it important to share immediately,” Casimir says, “at this time we have more questions than answers. We look forward to providing updates as they become available.”
Tk’emlups te Secwepemc expects to complete preliminary findings by mid-June and will be providing updates as they become available.