The Indigiverse Reflects on Kamloops Residential School

Two hundred and fifteen. That’s the number of children, some as young as three years old, whose bodies were buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of the Kamloops residential school. 215 children who were torn away from 430 parents, 860 grandparents, 1,720 great grandparents, never to return home to 6,020 arms waiting to hug them and hold them close.

June is Indigenous History Month. But our history — our story — is still being told. And while non-Indigenous people want land acknowledgements, perhaps they should think about the land our babies are buried under in unmarked graves right across this land. Because, if 215 unmarked graves are on the land of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, there are likely unmarked graves on the land where other residential schools stood and still stand today. Abuses took place in schools across Canada, so it would hold to reason the deaths of children also took place at these schools and their little bodies lie in unmarked graves under the land.

A natural question for people to ask is “Did you know someone whose family went there?” Yes, yes I do know someone. My friend and former colleague Darrell Dennis (above). He has multiple family members who went to that school. Darrell joins me on the show this week to share some of his family’s experiences and how even he has spent time in the school.

Barb and Clarence Nepinak are respected Elders in Manitoba. They are members of Pine Creek First Nation. Clarence is a residential school survivor. They will reflect and share their stories.

Shoshona Kish and Amanda Rheaume are pushing through their grief to make space for Indigenous musicians and music industry professionals with the International Indigenous Music Summit being held online June 8-12. They will tell us all about the summit, why it’s important to keep doing this work and how you can get involved.

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