Last week we learned the heartbreaking news of children’s remains being found at the site of the Kamloops Residential School.
We at St. Alban’s Anglican Church grieve the lives of the children lost in the terrible and unjust system of residential schools. We grieve the intergenerational trauma that continues to be felt by First Peoples in our area and throughout the world. The legacy of this and other discriminatory systems continues to be experienced by generations of First Peoples and people of colour.
Many of you will know of, or have experienced, the dissolution of the Diocese of the Cariboo as a result of the abuse and victimization that happened at the Anglican residential school in Lytton. We continue to grieve the pain and loss with the students whose legacy from that school affects them generation after generation.
With much prayer and consultation with Pastoral Elders and all people in our region, we are not a diocese; we have become the Territory of the People. Healing work has begun and there is still a long way to go to get to true reconciliation and healing among all. That work is ongoing and there are actions we can take to further that work.
As Bishop Lincoln says, “We must not be afraid to become better than what we are now.” It will take prayer and action, commitment and stepping out, more prayer and working together, even when we are not sure of the ways to take courageous action.
Clean drinking water for all, implementing the 94 Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission along with the findings from the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women’s Inquiry and adopting the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are rights for all, not privileges. We can write to our policy makers to adopt and implement the recommendations from those reports and tell our government officials to enact those findings.
Most of all, at this time we pray for whatever needs to come next with the children’s remains to honour them in the way that should have happened years ago. We pray for time to grieve those losses and time to heal as we move toward a just and equitable future together. Our hearts are heavy in remembering the children.