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Statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School

June 01 2021

On behalf of the Ontario College of Teachers, I would like to express our deep sadness at the discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School this past week. Our thoughts and condolences are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and all Indigenous communities across Canada.

The fact that this heartbreaking finding coincides with National Indigenous History Month is a powerful and stark reminder of Canada’s dark and painful past.

The past is not history. For more than a century, Indigenous children were taken from their families, forced to live at residential schools and had their identities stolen from them. Generations of Indigenous communities have suffered and continue to live with the legacy of intergenerational trauma, sadness and pain.

Yet through all this, guided by their narratives, traditions and teachings, Indigenous communities have always shown strength and resilience. They continue to show us how to find light in the darkness, to be steadfast to truth, and to face the inequities that persist to this day. 

As the regulator of Ontario’s teaching profession, we shape and provide for Ontario’s initial teacher education and continuing teacher education programs, while providing advice on professional practice and educational leadership. Infused into every aspect of our work is our ongoing and long-standing commitment to anti-oppression, equality, and inclusion.

As lifelong learners, educators have a responsibility to be culturally responsive and to make positive changes part of our classrooms and learning spaces. As a society, we must confront, address, and understand this shameful chapter in our country’s story. This is something we must do for the stolen children of the past, so that Indigenous children will be supported today with hopes for a stronger tomorrow.

Dr. Derek Haime, OCT
Registrar and CEO
Ontario College of Teachers

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON, M5S 0A1

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