Dear families and staff,
Last week, Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc First Nation announced the devastating discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children buried in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, BC. The discovery speaks of unimaginable horror and deep loss. It is a painful reminder of the profound, lasting harms on Indigenous communities, and of the heartbreaking and ongoing intergenerational trauma suffered by Indigenous families.
In acknowledgement of this unspeakable tragedy and as a sign of respect, the Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District will be lowering flags at all of its buildings starting tomorrow, Monday, May 31, and until further notice. We also respectfully ask that, if they can, our staff and students wear orange throughout the week to honour the lives of the children who were lost and to demonstrate that every child matters.
June is National Indigenous History Month – a month during which we celebrate the history, culture and diversity of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples in Canada. Even as we celebrate, let us also take the time to acknowledge the deep losses and lasting impacts suffered by Indigenous communities of Canada.
From 1863 to 1998, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in residential schools. The tragic legacy of these schools will continue to haunt Canadian communities and impact Indigenous families. As a school district, we are committed to ensuring all our students understand the cruel history and legacy of residential schools. We will also continue to work with First Peoples communities to ensure we are doing everything we can to provide Indigenous students and families with the supports they need.
Korleen Carreras, Board Chairperson
Harry Dhillon, Superintendent of Schools