How to support the Tk'emlups community: Chief Casimir | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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How to support the Tk'emlups community: Chief Casimir

215 child-sized shoes were placed in front of the Kamloops Residential School, May 31.
June 05, 2021 - 7:30 AM

If you want to know how to support Tk’emlups te Secwepemc, and other Indigenous communities, the answer is to listen.

“Now is not the time to ask questions, but to simply give a kind ear,” Tk’emlups Chief Rosanne Casimir said at a news conference Friday morning.

She said questions rose from across the region asking the Tk’emlups community how they can be supported, and numerous efforts have been made.

There is an upcoming truck rally on its way to Kamloops this weekend, there have been shoe displays and an ongoing petition for a national day of mourning to honour the 215 children found buried in unmarked graves on the former Kamloops Residential School grounds.

READ MORE: Tk'emlups community leaders take lead in residential school investigation

There has been a rallying across the country in the week since Tk’emlups te Secwepemc announced that penetrating radar detection confirmed the unmarked gravesite near the school.

Tk’emlups leaders are appreciative for the support, but it can also be overwhelming at this time.

“The outpouring of support has been amazing, but also, what we are very aware of is it’s been made very clear that in our community, people have felt like they haven’t been able to catch their breath,” Tk’emlups te Secwepemc spokesperson Racelle Kooy said in the June 4 press conference.

In response to the growing and continuing support for the community, and Indigenous peoples in general, the Band published a document explaining how the Tk’emlups community can best be supported.

“Many are not aware of the history of Canada’s residential schools, so we are urging people to review the TRC Calls to Action,” Casimir said.

READ MORE: Identifying children's remains at Kamloops residential school stalled by lack of records

She asked that people wear orange shirts to show their support for residential school survivors and their communities.

It is appropriate protocol to consult Tk’emlups chief and council for groups hoping to hold gatherings of ceremonies on Tk’emlups te Secwepemc land, which also allows time for the community to plan, especially while adhering to provincial health orders, according to Casimir.

The Simpcw First Nation announced in a statement that they are working with Tk’emlups te Secwepemc as dates are arranged for various affected communities to visit the former residential school site and hold ceremonies.

Go here to read the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc full list of suggestions on how to help the community.

READ MORE: A look at the residential-school system in Canada

For those who have information about those who may be buried at the site, or expertise that may be of use as work continues, they may contact Ted Gottfriedsen by email here.

Anyone wishing to donate to the Tk’emlups community efforts, can do so at this email address. All donations will be used in the investigation process to identify the children, or put towards a future memorial.

If you find yourself in need of support please contact one of these organizations:

Indian Residential School Survivors: 1-800-721-0066

KUU-US Indigenous crisis line - available 24 hours

Youth Line: 250-723-2040

Adult Line: 250-723-4050

Residential School Crisis line - available 24 hours: 1-866-925-4419

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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