Late last week, the shocking discovery of human remains of 215 children was made in Kamloops, BC on the property of one of Canada’s largest Residential Schools. These deaths of young members of the Secwépemc First Nation were likely undocumented. The uncovering of this burial site has prompted many to speculate on the countless other sites of past Residential Schools.
#Habs Price was asked for his reaction to the 215 deceased Indigenous kids discovered in Kamloops, BC. Stern-faced, Price said, "I advise a lot of people to look into residential schools."
— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) June 1, 2021
Indigenous participants of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs include Manitoba’s Zach Whitecloud (Sioux Valley Dakota Nation) and Brady Keeper (Pimicikamak First Nation), as well as TJ Oshie (Ojibwe), Ethan Bear (Cree), Brandon Montour (Mohawk), Garrett Pilon (Metis) and coach Craig Berube (Cree).
On Tuesday, Vegas Golden Knights defenceman Zach Whitecloud shared a reflection after taking some time to digest the sickening news. His story follows:
As a proud member of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, I share in the pain and grief that all my fellow First Nations brothers and sisters are feeling right now for the 215 children discovered in Kamloops. We are devastated for the children, their families, loved ones and all who have been impacted.
I believe it is important for us all to educate ourselves on the history of the residential school program. We need to accept the uncomfortable fact that the schools are a significant part of our past and we need to acknowledge that they have caused significant trauma for thousands of indigenous families. Many people believe that these programs and the unfair treatment towards indigenous people is ancient history, however that is not the case. These are problems that are in the here and now and still exist today.
While hearing these heartbreaking stories naturally brings out anger, anger and finger-pointing is not going to help solve the problem. We need to take the time to learn about our history – regardless of how dark it may be – educate ourselves and share this knowledge in order to move forward in a positive direction.
By doing so, we can collectively use our informed voices to ensure that this type of treatment never happens again.
We are a resilient people. We will honour and remember these 215 children that never made it home to their families. And we will continue to use our voices and our platforms to help effect positive change so that all children in future generations have the opportunity to lead fulfilled lives free from fear and prejudice.
Whitecloud is currently down 1-0 in his second round playoff series with the NHL-best Colorado Avalanche. Game 2 is set to be played on Wednesday evening in Denver.