Statement on missing children and all those impacted by residential schools

By Public Affairs | July 8, 2021

Text of "Every child matters" overlain on an orange background

This statement contains content about residential schools that we recognize may be triggering. If you need immediate emotional assistance or crisis support, please see the supports (bolded) below. 

Okanagan College respectfully acknowledges that our Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon campuses are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan people and our Salmon Arm campus is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemc.

On behalf of Okanagan College and the Board of Governors, we offer our condolences and deepest sympathies to all of the Indigenous peoples of the region, the province and across the country who are mourning the loss of children to the residential school system in Canada. We recognize that the confirmations of remains found in unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools in Cranbrook and Kamloops, BC and in Marieval, Saskatchewan, renew the grief and heartache of survivors, families and Indigenous communities. Our hearts go out to all those impacted by the legacy of harm, trauma, pain and suffering caused by this system, and we stand with you now and in the future.

Sadly, we know in the region that Syilx, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa children attended residential schools and were among those who did not return. We acknowledge with concern and profoundly heavy hearts that each new confirmation brings unique grief to the individuals and communities affected, while adding to the collective sorrow, anger and pain being experienced by Indigenous peoples, including members of the Okanagan College community. We cannot begin to express our sorrow at the hurt you are experiencing right now.

If you need immediate support: you can access resources available to OC students, employees and the public on this webpage. There you will also find information and resources about the residential school system, survivor stories, Indigenous news and knowledge sources, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.

As a college we are committed to continuing working with, learning from and listening to Indigenous communities, to supporting our Indigenous learners and employees and to infusing Indigenous knowledge into every aspect of what we do. We know that true progress in reconciliation will involve active two-way communication, sharing of knowledge and action.

We invite everyone to join us in taking action on the path toward reconciliation. Join us in reading and making a personal commitment to acting on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action through the I Pledge Campaign. It is our sincere hope that what began as a space for our students and employees to voice their personal commitment to engaging with this important topic can provide a channel for others to do so as well.

Gloria Morgan
Chair, Okanagan College Board of Governors
Yawyawt all Xaxa7 t'e poonllp
(Strong and Smart Juniper)
Splatsina t'e Secwepemc

Neil Fassina
President, Okanagan College



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