Statement on the discovery of unmarked graves on former residential school sites

Statement on the discovery of unmarked graves on former residential school sites

The Association of Canadian Deans of Education (ACDE) acknowledges, with profound sorrow, the discovery of the unmarked graves of more than 1100 Indigenous children at the sites of the former Kamloops, Marieval and Cranbrook Indian Residential Schools. ACDE extends formal condolences and mourns along with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, Cowessess First Nation, Ktunaxa Nation and all Indigenous communities.

ACDE represents those responsible for university-based preparation of professional educators and much of the educational research and scholarship in Canada. As such, ACDE  bears a special responsibility to recognize the ways in which education was, and can continue to be, used as a tool of assimilation, colonization, and oppression, both in residential schools and in society more generally.

ACDE acknowledges its ethical responsibility, as a collective representing educational institutions and those responsible for the preparation of educators in Canada, to work to include truth and reconciliation in all educational spheres in which its members engage and to actively support Indigenous students, colleagues and their communities as we move forward.

ACDE calls upon:

  • Federal and provincial governments to support and assist Indigenous nations, bands and communities who request aid in seeking to locate, identify and commemorate Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools.
  • Churches, religious organizations and others involved in residential schools to compile and produce all relevant records, placing them in the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation as their permanent repository.
  • Ministries of Education to ensure that curriculum includes opportunities for all students to learn about the history and legacies of residential schools.
  • All Canadians to read, reflect and act upon the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and to live up to their treaty obligations.