Peace for the loss of 215 children found in British Columbia at a residential school.

National Indigenous History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments, cultures and resiliency of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Turtle Island.  

National Indigenous History Month is a time to celebrate the accomplishments, cultures and resiliency of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples across Turtle Island.  

This year, we are also taking care to hold space for grief and trauma individuals may be experiencing as a result of the uncovering the remains of 215 youth at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops at the outset of this usually joyful time. 

We were sent this painting by artist Nevada Anwhatin. It is called, "Peace for the loss of 215 children found in British Columbia at a residential school." She says of the painting:

“Aanii kina wyiaa, Nevada ndizhnikaas. Wiikwemkoong ndoonjibaa. Hello everyone, my name is Nevada. I am from Wikwemikong First Nation. I created this piece to honour the 215 Indigenous children recently found in Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation. The history of residential schools has affected all our people to this day. We are strong and resilient!"

Thanks to Nevada for sharing. If you are an Indigenous youth and you have art or writing you'd like to share through the IEJ project, on this topic or any other, contact or send an email to theiejproject@gmail.com

If you are feeling grief or trauma around this news, please know you are not alone. There are mental health resources available to you, including the following: 

National:

  • Indian Residential School Survivors & Family 24 Hour Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419: https://www.irsss.ca/faqs/how-do-i-reach-the-24-hour-crisis-line
  • IRSSS Services: Counselling, therapy, healing, coaching, workshops, traditional healing methods/medicines, etc. https://www.irsss.ca/services
  • Hope for Wellness Help Line: 1-855-242-3310 (available 24 hours, in English, French, Cree, Ojibway, Inuktitut)
  • Health Canada Help Line: 1-866-925-4419
  • Health Canada’s Northern Region: 1-800-464-8106
  • NWAC Elder Support Line Canada Wide: (M-F 9am-11am, 1pm-3pm): 888-664-7808

Ontario:

On June 14, the IEJ Project held a discussion featuring Mikinaak (Crystal) Migwans, a member of Wiikemikoong Unceded Territory and Assistant Professor of Indigenous Contemporary Art in Canada at the University of Toronto with a cross-appointment as Curator of Indigenous Art at the U of T Art Museum. They were joined by Dr. Alan Corbiere, who was recently named as a new Canada Research Chair for Indigenous History of North America at York University.

Mikinaak's research and pedagogy is focused on Indigenous relations in museum and gallery settings, the power of makers, and the politics of place-making, with special attention to weaving, women, and water relations in the northeast.