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RRC president, board chair release statement on Kamloops Indian Residential School

May 31, 2021

Statement from Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College, and Loren Cisyk, Chair, Red River College Board of Governors:

Last week we learned the remains of 215 children were discovered in a mass grave on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School at Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in British Columbia.

The discovery of the remains of these innocent children is horrifying, heartbreaking and harrowing. It is a solemn reminder of the pain and suffering caused by the dark truths of Canada’s Residential School system — a history that is not so distant and continues to impact Indigenous peoples, causing generational trauma across our country.

In an act of remembrance to honour the lives lost, Red River College has lowered the flags at all of our campuses for nine days, and beginning Tuesday, with the guidance of our Elders, we will light a sacred fire at our Notre Dame Campus that will burn from Tuesday to Friday.

We must continue to acknowledge and discuss the legacy of the Canadian Residential School system, and to honour the victims. As the Red River College community collectively honours and mourns these innocent lives lost, we will continue our work to strive towards reconciliation, as we face these painful truths and strengthen our commitment to the 94 Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

This news can elicit strong and extremely painful emotions for many. We must allow space for grief and pay attention to our mental health. Staff and students can visit rrc.ca/wellness to access supports.

Those seeking support can contact the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1.866.925.4419, or the 24-hour Crisis Line: 1.866.925.4419.

Fred Meier, President and CEO, Red River College

Loren Cisyk, Chair, Board of Governors, Red River College