File photo of CVRD building in Courtenay.

File photo of CVRD building in Courtenay.

Comox Valley Regional District pays respect to 215 Indigenous children discovered

The Comox Valley Regional District has issued a statement to pay its respects to the memory of 215 innocent children whose remains were discovered at a former Kamloops residential school.

The CVRD will be working with its staff in the coming days to acknowledge this national tragedy openly and honestly, and with the best intentions of moving forward together to heal. The shameful legacy of residential schools is an ongoing trauma for families in our community, our province and across the country. These difficult conversations must continue so that we all understand the atrocities that were inflicted at Canada’s residential schools.

“Our thoughts are with residential school survivors and the families of those innocent children,” said CVRD board chair Jesse Ketler. “As a parent, whenever I would hear of missing children my heart breaks for the families because I couldn’t imagine something worse than having your child taken and not knowing what happened to them, always wondering if they were OK and if they knew how much they were loved. That pain was inflicted on those 215 families and on so many more families across the country. This week we mourn for all those Indigenous children and acknowledge the pain that still remains in everyone’s hearts.

“Thank you to K’ómoks First Nation for working in partnership and teaching our community with honesty, openness and compassion. Our thoughts and prayers are with your community,” added Ketler. “As a community and as a nation we must honour the lives of these innocent children and never forget their stories.”

READ: Petition calls for day of mourning for children found buried at former B.C. residential school

Before starting committee of the whole proceedings Monday, Courtenay council held a minute of silence to acknowledge the discovery in Kamloops, and to mourn the loss of innocent children.

“While this discovery may be a shock to many, it is sad proof for residential school survivors and families who have been sounding the alarm about these lost children for many years,” Mayor Bob Wells said. “This was just one of over 100 residential schools across our country, including five here on Vancouver Island…The goal of residential schools was to kill the Indian in the child, with the last one closing in 1996. While we hope this discovery will allow some families to find closure, we acknowledge that there are countless others who are waiting for news of their families’ own lost children.”

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