We were devastated to hear the recent news from Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation of 215 Indigenous children’s remains being discovered on the grounds of Kamloops Indian Residential School. This is a tragic reminder of the abuse so many Indigenous children were forced to endure at the hands of the residential school system, and of the children who were never able to return to their families.
As the country once again confronts the shameful legacy of residential schools and Canada’s colonial efforts, 4-H Canada acknowledges the continued systemic and unjust treatment that Indigenous peoples continue to experience to this day.
As a national youth organization with over a century of heritage in rural communities, we have strong connections with Indigenous Nations and communities across Canada that stretch back decades. We must commit ourselves to listening to the truths of all Indigenous peoples and humbly learning about our own history in order to move forward meaningfully and respectfully with our commitment to inclusion and equality. We owe it to our Indigenous partners, our youth members, and our 4-H communities to do so.
We recognize that above all else, right now is a time for mourning, and we stand with all Indigenous peoples, including Indigenous 4-H volunteers, youth, and staff, in remembering not only the lives of those 215 children, but the countless other children whose lives were lost to the residential school system.
4-H Canada believes unequivocally that #EveryChildMatters.