The League of Canadian poets stands in mourning alongside Indigenous communities as they grieve the lives of 215 children whose bodies were found buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. From the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, we know there are thousands more victims of Canada’s residential schools who have not yet been found, and whose families do not know the fate of their relatives even after these many years. Our hearts are with all the families and communities of the victims of Canada’s residential school system who are still experiencing the impact of that system today.
The League of Canadian Poets supports the call to action for further exploration of the residential schools in Canada; we support the work of Indigenous leaders and communities in the Canadian legal system as they continue to fight for justice and reconciliation; we support the call to action to carry out the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
In times of great pain, we seek the arts for healing, expression, and truth, and we are humbled and honoured to share the poem “Angels” written by Louise Bernice Halfe – Sky Dancer in honour of the 215 victims of Kamloops Indian Residential School. Louise Bernice Halfe– Sky Dancer is a member of the League of Canadian Poets and the current Parliamentary Poet Laureate.
As an organization, the League of Canadian Poets is committed to being a catalyst for change and empathy within the arts community. We will continue to center and amplify the voices of racialized and marginalized artists, including those who identify as Indigenous – First Nations, Métis, and Inuit. If you are a descendant of or identify as a colonizer or settler in Canada, we encourage you to learn, take action, and/or donate your time and resources to reconciliation and increased equity for Indigenous people.
Please refer to the following resources and organizations for education and support:
- To learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Committee’s findings about residential schools and detailed action plan, see: www.trc.ca/about-us.html
- For an overview of the legal challenges that Indigenous advocates and communities are facing in Canada’s court system, see: www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2021/06/07/why-does-justin-trudeaus-government-continue-to-fight-indigenous-compensation-claims-in-court-i-cant-make-sense-of-it-top-advocate-says.html
For more information on organizations that support Indigenous people and communities, see:
- Indigenous Organizations list from IndigenousWorks: indigenousworks.ca/en/resources/indigenous-organizations
- “Deepening Knowledge” list of Canada and Ontario-specific Indigenous organizations, from University of Toronto OISE: www.oise.utoronto.ca/deepeningknowledge/Community_Connections/Organizations.html
- Indigenous Organization list from the Thunder Bay Public Library: www.tbpl.ca/indigenousorganizations