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Letter: Action needed now in wake of residential school horrors

'The world is awaiting Canada’s response, and your constituents are paying close attention.'
Kamloops residential school CP
Kamloops residential school.
Editor’s note: The following letter was sent to MP Patrick Weiler and  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and copied to The Chief.

My name is Hilary Bloom, and I am a constituent in Squamish. I grew up in Kamloops, and I started kindergarten at the Kamloops Indian Residential School property in 1981 while my elementary school was being built.

It makes me incredibly sad to think about being a carefree five-year-old playing around on those fields and in those buildings, only a few short years after it stopped operating as a residential school.

So many of us lived right nearby and had no idea what went on for those generations of beautiful children.

My heart goes out to the many, many people affected by the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried on the property and the many, many people traumatized by the residential school legacy that has hurt so many generations of families.

As director of the Squamish Public Library, I’m proud of the initiatives our library has supported and undertaken since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission report to facilitate awareness and understanding in our community. We are committed to recognizing the first-hand experiences of Squamish Nation Elders in residential schools and the intergenerational trauma that haunts families to this day. Through the library programs and resources, we make available to our community, we endeavour to raise awareness about the systemic racism that continues to plague Indigenous communities.

I urge you to do what you can in your privileged position of power to ensure that adequate attention and resources are dedicated to the First Nations of our region, our province, and our country. While it’s unfortunate that it takes an atrocity like this discovery on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc land to prompt national attention and action, now is the time to act on the commitments the Liberal government has been making since 2015.

The world is awaiting Canada’s response, and your constituents are paying close attention.

Hilary Bloom