Oki, aba wathtec, danit’ada, tansi, hello, bonjour, relatives.
Colouring it Forward, its sister nonprofit organization CIF Reconciliation Society and its board members would like to share our statement on the 215 children who were found buried in a mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc. As an Indigenous run organization whose main purpose is Orange Shirt Day events and education, it took us some time to grieve and process this information. Just like many people have already said, this is not new news to us but we are grieving just the same. Grieving for the children who were not protected, who were not loved, who were not cherished as they should have been. We grieve for the families who lost their children and never saw them again. At the same time, we are happy that these children are being sung home for the sake of their families.
We ask you to help make sure that this is not forgotten. We need to find all the other lost children and we need to make the government and the church take steps to take accountability, make reparations and prevent these tragedies from ever happening again. We need the government to follow through on the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report which include actions regarding residential school issues.
In the meantime, it’s important for us to take action and these are our first steps. Our Orange Shirt, Orange Hoodies and buttons are 30% off. In our efforts to keep supporting our community, 100% of the proceeds from the sale of 215 shirts/hoodies will be donated to our Pokaiks - the children to help fund our Orange Shirt Day Walk and event as well as to continue our education on Indigenous issues and realities.
Whether you are non-Indigenous or Indigenous, we ask that you continue to wear your orange shirt and share the message that Every Child Matters, raise your voice on social media, in letters or in phone calls to help us to make change. We will be providing some letter templates in the near future to help you with this.
We know that these terrible actions were not restricted to Canada. We know that this also happened in many other countries that were colonized. Our hearts go out to all of you, our Indigenous sisters and brothers.