National Chief RoseAnne Archibald Seeks Urgent Action from Federal Government after Release of Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Report on Unmarked Graves

Published: Jul 16, 2021News

(Ottawa, ON) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief RoseAnne Archibald joined Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, her Council and community, Elders, special guests, and residential school survivors for the announcement of findings from the final report on the recovery of unmarked graves at the former site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

National Chief Archibald released the below statement today:

“I am honoured to have joined the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc leadership, community members and survivors as they announced findings of the report on the recovery of their lost and now recovered little ones. This is an important day for us as First Nations people.  Here in Secwe̓pemc territory, in these sacred lands, Canadians and the world first learned about how 215 innocent children died and were buried in unmarked graves.

For many Canadians and for people around the world, these recent recoveries of our children – buried nameless, unmarked, lost and without ceremony are shocking, and unbelievable. Not for us, we’ve always known.

I ask every Canadian to stand with First Nations as we continue this painful but important work. I ask that you listen, learn and reflect on the history we share as a country. Please continue to call the Prime Minister, your Premier, your MPs and MPPs to demand reparation, justice and action.

The report findings today show that this recovery of our children is not over and there will be many reports to come. This ground-penetrating radar technology is revealing evidence and is undisputable proof that crimes were committed.  Crimes have to be investigated and those guilty must be held to account.

People and media have been referring to them as discoveries. These are NOT ‘discoveries’ – these are ‘recoveries.’ There must be truth before reconciliation. It’s time to find our children and bring them home.

As we continue the painful but essential work of locating and identifying our missing little ones, I urge all levels of government to provide the full breadth of resources and support for any First Nation pursuing investigative efforts.”

On May 28, 2021, the remains of 215 children were discovered in unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

Since then, additional remains have been found at Muskowekwan First Nation (35 unmarked graves), Cowessess First Nation (751 unmarked graves), and as of July 13, at Penelakut Island (160 unmarked graves).

National Chief Archibald will continue to meet with Chiefs, survivors and loved ones as she continues her first cross-country tour as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Comms, @AFN_Updates.

Contact information:

Jamie Monastyrski
Press Secretary
Office of the National Chief
613-612-7229 (mobile)
[email protected]

Kelly Reid
Communications Officer
Assembly of First Nations
613-292-0857 (mobile)
[email protected]