The Board of Directors and staff of the Canadian Medical Foundation was saddened by the news of the 215 children whose remains were discovered at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. We mourn the loss with the communities and families affected by both the direct and intergenerational impact of residential schools.
The discovery of these children should not come as a surprise. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has estimated that more than 150,000 First Nations, Métis and Inuit children were placed in residential schools between the 1870s and 1990s and thousands of children died while attending these schools.
The injustice towards the Indigenous peoples of Canada did not end with the closing of the residential schools, it continues today to include the Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, inadequate housing, food insecurity, the lack of access to clean drinking water, and egregious disparities when it comes to access to health care and health outcomes.
As we have entered National Indigenous History Month, we should all take this time not just to educate ourselves, learn about and celebrate the heritage and diversity of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, but to also reflect on how we can advocate for and reconcile with the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples of Canada.
The Canadian Medical Foundation is committed to continuing the work of reconciliation and taking action throughout the year by working together with Indigenous partners to address barriers to health equity.
Learn more about the Calls to Action:
Dr. Cara Bablitz Dusanka Pavlica
Palliative Care MD President & CEO
Métis advocate for Equitable Health Canadian Medical Foundation
CMF Board of Directors