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First Nations groups offer help to cope with the discovery of the Kamloops burial site

The response comes after the discovery of the more than 200 bodies of children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School
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First Nations groups are helping their communities cope with the discovery of the more than 200 bodies of children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“Emotional support is available to you.”

That’s the message being sent out to First Nations communities across the province whose people are grieving the discovery of the more than 200 bodies of children who attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, were confirmed last weekend with the help of ground-penetrating radar.

She described the discovery as "an unthinkable loss that was spoken about but never documented at the Kamloops Indian Residential School."

In a recent Facebook post the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council said to its members they are not alone in their mourning.

“The news from Tk'emlups regarding the residential school can be triggering to our people. Emotional support is available to you,” the post reads.

The post also included several resources to help those grieving. Some of them included:

  • KUU-US Crisis Line
    • 1-800-588-8717
       
  • Indian Residential School Survivors and Family
    • 1-866-925-4419
       
  • Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society
    • 1-888-403-3123
       
  • Aboriginal Wellness Program
    • 604-675-2551 or 1-866-884-0888
       
  • Canadian Mental Health Association - British Columbia Division
    • 1-800-555-8222
       
  • HeretoHelp
    • 1-800-661-2121
       
  • Kids Help Phone
    • 1-800-668-6868
       
  • Crisis Services Canada
    • 1-833-456-4566 or text 45645
       
  • First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line
    • 1‑855‑242-3310

The Nation also hosted a virtual ceremony to honour those discovered at the residential school on Friday. The Nation will be continuing to share mental health support links and phone numbers, virtual and live events notices and other resources over the next several days.

Cheryl Casimer, a First Nations Summit executive, offered her condolences to the hurting community as well.

“Words cannot express our deep sorrow for the lost children whose remains have now been found... This discovery is yet another blight on Canada’s history and further proof of the genocide resulting from the horrific Indian Residential School system"