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Local Family and Children’s Services: 215 children will not be forgotten

A vigil for the 215 bodies of residential school children found in a mass grave in Kamloops, BC was placed on the steps of Kingston City hall for a memorial Monday, May 31. Photo by Stephan Strangman.

The following is a message from Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington (FACSFLA) in regards to the remains of 215 children found at the former Kamloops Residential School:

We must do better.  We are committed to learning and improving in everything we do. The discovery of the remains of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School, near the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, is a painful reminder of the profound intergenerational trauma caused by colonization through systems like residential schools, our justice system, health care and child welfare. This legacy is not something that lives in the past.  Anti-indigenous racism continues to impact the First Nations, Metis and Inuit (FNIM) communities today.

This horrific story has, once again, shone a spotlight on the need for action.  We all have a role to play. Here at FACSFLA, we are on a journey to increase our connections and support to those who are a part of FNIM communities by being better listeners.  Our goal is to make impactful change as we collaborate with First Peoples about our direction as an agency.  We know we have work to do.

We are honoured to be a part of The Kewaywin Circle which takes its name from an Eastern Ojibwe Anishinaabe word that means “to go home”.  This Indigenous circle fosters support, guidance and connections to community and cultural knowledge for families, children and youth working with the agency who self-identify as Indigenous. The Circle guides agency staff providing services to Indigenous families and to the Board of Directors. Members of the circle also offer input on our services and offers recommendations for change. We have a long road ahead with Indigenous peoples to rebuild trust and understanding. We are determined to make this journey together.

We believe the best place for kids to grow up is with their own family, within their own culture(s) and communities. That’s why our primary goal is to keep families in crisis together. If that is not possible, we will turn first to extended family and communities for help.

Together we must take action as we continue on the path to change.

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