The CBABC Aboriginal Lawyers Forum continues to offer support and share in the grief with our Indigenous members, colleagues and communities regarding the recent announcement of the more than 160 undocumented and unmarked graves found at the site of the former Kuper Island Industrial School on the traditional lands of the Penelakut Tribe.
Every Indigenous person has a connection to residential schools. The Indian Residential School Survivors Society has a 24/7 crisis line available for all residential school survivors, family members and descendants, and traditional counsellors are available upon request. Please call 1-800-721-0066 or 1-866-925-4419.
To all CBABC members and lawyers in BC, if you are in need of support, the Lawyers Assistance Program offers a 24/7 support line. Please call 1-888-685-2171.
Finally, for our entire CBABC legal community, here is a list from the Indian Residential School Survivors' Society of ways all Canadians can help survivors and their families:
- Learn about the impacts of the residential school system. Specifically:
Read the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 94 Calls to Action
Watch Stolen Children and Canada's Dark Secret
Purchase and read the book, A National Crime
- Call on your local Member of Parliament and Member of the Legislative Assembly to implement the TRC's Calls to Action.
- Actively listen to Indigenous voices in your community – when they are ready. Be respectful to Indigenous friends, colleagues and community members right now and understand that we are grieving right now. Offer your support; ask them if they are ok; ask them if they need anything. Be respectful if they do not want to talk about this very personal topic in the workplace.
- Support Indigenous led community organizations, like the Indian Residential School Survivors Society and the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society.
- Challenge stereotypes, prejudice and systemic racism.
- Raise awareness in your community and social circle about residential schools. Wear your orange shirts and encourage others to support survivors and learn about residential schools. You can purchase an orange shirt to show your support of survivors.*Please ensure you purchase an orange shirt from an organization that donates the funds to residential school survivors. There are various non-Indigenous companies selling orange "every child matters" shirts for a profit*.