Statement on missing children and all those impacted by residential schools
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.
Chair, Okanagan College Board of Governors
Yawyawt all Xaxa7 t'e poonllp
(Strong and Smart Juniper)
Splatsina t'e Secwepemc
President, Okanagan College
September 27, 2021
Kelly Terbasket of IndigenEYEZ has created a new sister organization for allies—kinSHIFT. Launched this spring, kinSHIFT is a tailored set of workshops for non-Indigenous allies who want to take the next step. Designed in response to increasing requests from people who want to be genuine allies, kinSHIFT is a safer space to do the work. ------------ As a person of mixed heritage, I've always felt the divide between cultures and wanted to be part of bridging awareness a...Read more...
September 10, 2021
The writing community of Vernon is taking centre stage in a new film produced by OC English Professor and self-proclaimed budding filmmaker Hannah Calder. For the last four years, Calder has been collaborating with Curtis and Silmara Emde on Why We Write: Poets of Vernon, a film project originally sparked in 2017. Curtis, an OUC alumnus, has stayed in touch with his first-year English professor, Tom Wayman, since completing his studies. When Wayman released his collection of music-...Read more...
September 3, 2021
“I have always been interested in our anatomy and exercising so I enrolled in OC’s Kinesiology Diploma program. My first year was going really well, then COVID-19 hit. I was able to finish the first year in an online format. However, starting school in September completely online, I was struggling to stay engaged with my studies. Before COVID, many of our classes would be active and in the gym. I found it hard to stay present with everything online and not having the same convers...Read more...
September 3, 2021
“In my second year of studies I connected with a classmate over our shared curiosity to learn more about our Indigenous backgrounds. I’m Métis, but my family didn’t practice Indigenous customs. My classmate went on to be very successful in reconnecting with her culture. Watching her hit those milestones I knew that if she could do it, I could do it too. I’d say the tipping point for me was winning a bursary from Okanagan College to attend the Indigenous Women’s Leadership Summit....Read more...