Walpole Island First Nation Chief Charles Sampson says the community “is extremely heartbroken” to hear about the 215 children discovered in a mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“Our community has begun honouring these children by gathering children’s shoes at the residential school monument here on Walpole Island,” Chief Sampson said in a written statement.
“We have lowered the flags and raised orange flags in honour of the 215 children. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the families. We pray that you will have peace and healing. We know there are many other lost children at other residential school sites across this land.”
Chief Sampson added: “We know that they suffered much pain, horror and abuse, and now, we can openly grieve with those broken families who could not welcome home the return of their little ones… the hurt we feel is indescribable. We must find justice for them. We must ask ourselves, where is justice for the Anishnebek and all our brothers and sisters in the ‘Just Society’?”
Chief Sampson said it is in response to the above question, that the Walpole Island First Nation, Council of Three Fires, “demands” that the following course of action be taken, including:
– That the implementation of past “Indian Policy” by the Canadian government and the Churches must be investigated, held accountable and dealt with under an international court of law.
– That Canada be held accountable for this legislated system of horror, we are dealing with crimes against humanity and this history of government mistreatment which includes genocide and ethnic cleansing must be exposed to all Canadians and the international community of Nations.
– That all children who attended residential schools must be accounted for, and those that went missing must be identified and given proper ceremonial burial.
– And finally, we demand that all history books and teaching materials be rewritten to expose the truth on how the Anishnebek and their children were treated in the residential school system and the reasoning for this mistreatment must be accurately and properly explained.
Chief Sampson added the Anishnebek of Walpole Island First Nation ask for a National Day of Mourning and a shutdown of all business activity to honour and to demonstrate our deep sense of sorrow for these lost children.
“It is time for the Peoples of Turtle Island to stand together and denounce these horrific
findings,” Chief Sampson said.
“We are with you Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation.”
The Chief’s letter was sent to the media and was also coped to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Regional Chief RoseAnne Archibald, National Chief Perry Bellegarde, and Secretary-General António Guterres of The United Nations