Jun 30, 2021

It is with a heavy heart that we share another First Nation has announced the findings of unmarked graves near the former St. Eugene’s Residential School, also known as the Kootenay or Little Red Brick School near Cranbrook, BC. The community of ʔaq’am, also known as St. Mary’s band, one of the four bands situated within the traditional territory of the Ktunaxa Nation, confirmed approximately 182 unmarked graves back in 2020 using ground penetrating radar, and recently notified the nearby Lower Kootenay First Nation.

Our thoughts, hearts, and spirits are with the Lower Kootenay, and all our Indigenous relatives and communities during this time of sorrow. It is hard to imagine the death of one child, let alone these staggering numbers. This news is made all the more difficult and devastating by the fact that our communities have long known, and shared, this information. This announcement, comes less than a week after the findings of more than 751 unmarked graves in Saskatchewan, 100 unmarked graves near the former Brandon Indian Residential School site, and the findings of the former Residential School in Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc territory near Kamloops, BC.

While our Gathering Space remains closed at this time in an effort to keep our community safe, our team is still available to connect with and support you during this and all times.

Please contact us at indigenous@langara.ca should you like to connect with any one of our team members.

Below is a list of community resources available to provide support should this loss have triggered any trauma or caused you distress:  

  • Residential School Survivors Society:reception@irsss.ca, or 1.800.721.0066.
  • Residential School Survivors and Family: 1.866.925.4419 (24-hour crisis line).
  • KUU-US Crisis Line Society: 1.800.588.8717 (Toll-free), 250.723.4050 (Adult Line).
  • Métis Crisis Line: 1.833.MÉTISBC (1.833.638.4722).
  • Kids Help Phone: Provides a texting option for Indigenous youth and adults to connect with a First Nations, Metis, or Inuit crisis responder. Youth text 68 68 68 and adults text 741 741 with the word "First Nations" or "Metis" or "Inuit" to be connected to a crisis responder from their nation if one is available (Indigenous crisis responders are not guaranteed but will be prioritized). 
  • Wellness Together Canada: Free mental health support that is available 24/7.   
  • Immediate crisis support for Indigenous Peoples through Hope to Wellness available at 1.855.242.3310  
  • Hope for Wellness Help Line: Free counselling available 24/7 to all Indigenous peoples, including First NationsMétis, and Inuit peoples across Canada. Online chat or phone line available.
  • Research at SFU on this topic. 
  • Grassroots fundraising on Vancouver Island with a GoFundMe page:  (grassroots/direct to community funding is much more likely to get this work done quickly than federal pathways).
  • Indian Residential School Survivors Society donation page, so that they can continue to do their important work as this research unfolds in the years to come.
  • Recent resources from the UBC Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.