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Kamloops RCMP working with Tk’emlups after discovery of mass burial site

Kamloops This Week

The Kamloops RCMP will be working with Tk’emlups te Secwépemc following the discovery of the remains of 215 children on grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“We share the community’s sadness in learning of the recent discovery,” Supt. Sydney Lecky said.

“We are mindful that news of the discovery may evoke memories of trauma and emotions. We encourage anyone who needs help to please reach out.”

Support is available by calling the 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.

Lecky said the Tk’emlúps RCMP detachment will be working with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community leaders in determining the next steps and the best way to be involved, while at the same time being supportive, respectful and culturally sensitive to the Indigenous communities that are impacted.

“Out of respect for all indigenous communities, the RCMP will be working closely with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community leaders and following their lead on the release of information at this time,” Lecky said.

“We also ask everyone to please respect the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc request to not attend the Heritage Park, which is closed to the public during this sensitive work.”

Read more: Remains of 215 children found at former residential school in Kamloops

Read more: B.C. premier ‘horrified’ at discovery of remains at Kamloops residential school site

Chief Rosanne Casimir said Tk’emlúps will continue to work with the ground-penetrating radar specialist to complete the survey of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School grounds. Preliminary work in confirming that the remains of the children were on the reserve began in the early 2000s, Casimir said, with the radar technology confirming the stories.

The band is expected to complete preliminary findings by mid- June and will be providing updates as they become available.

The BC Coroners Service, which is investigating, issued the following release from chief coroner Lisa Lapointe.

“We are early in the process of gathering information and will continue to work collaboratively with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and others as this sensitive work progresses. We recognize the tragic, heartbreaking devastation that the Canadian residential school system has inflicted upon so many, and our thoughts are with all of those who are in mourning today.”

On Thursday, May 27, The Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed the remains of 215 children who were students of the Kamloops Indian Residential School had been found on the reserve using ground-penetrating radar.

Chief Rosanne Casimir called the discovery an “unthinkable loss that was spoken about, but never documented by the Kamloops Indian Residential School,” which was the largest school in the country’s Indian Affairs residential school system.
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