WARNING: Readers of this statement may find the content distressing
We stand alongside the survivors and families of those affected by the Canadian residential school system. As a Canadian organization dedicated to supporting business and economic development in rural and Indigenous communities, we acknowledge our duty to hear the Truth and recognize we have a role to play in Reconciliation. A full understanding of the harmful realities of the residential school system is long overdue, and we intend to promote and remain actively involved in this conversation. But, as Canadians, we also aim to do better. To be better. Because we can all be better neighbours, friends, and allies for Indigenous peoples, and it is time Canadians and Canadian institutions recognize the Truth of this country’s dark past and do better.
We, as individuals, may not have run residential schools, but we are here now. We represent the Canada of the future, and we need to find a way forward that respects our neighbours and the great gift they have provided in sharing lands and a way of life with us.
As an organization, we are committed to being a part of the discussion that must follow the many announcements of unmarked graves of Indigenous children. For now, we reflect – not only on what has been done but also on the kind of Canada that comes out the other end of this journey. Chief Cadmus Delorme’s words provide guidance. He suggests that it is our responsibility as Canadians to provide our neighbours time and space to heal. We should also remember that we are not our neighbours’ healers. We cannot replace what has been taken and undo the harm done. What we can do is work on ourselves. We pledge to do and be better because the Canada we envision for the future ensures our Indigenous neighbours flourish alongside us. And, while we should soberly remember the Canada that took children from their families and communities, we should also move beyond it towards a Canada that reflects Reconciliation and respects the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples.
Download the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action HERE.
Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.