This article contains content about residential schools that may be triggering. Support for survivors and their families is available. Call the Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 or 1-866-925-4419 for the 24-7 crisis line. The KUU-US Crisis Line Society also offers 24-7 support at 250-723-4050 for adults, 250-723-2040 for youth, or toll-free at 1-800-588-8717. Communities across so-called Canada are grieving after the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Many Indigenous people are overwhelmed with the tasks of caring for themselves, their families and communities. And many non-Indigenous people are wondering what they can do to help.
This article is a collaboration between The Discourse and IndigiNews. It seeks to amplify calls to action from Indigenous people and communities that have been shared in recent days. We’ve drawn heavily from this list of actions shared by the Indian Residential School Survivors Society, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s 94 calls to action, and conversations between IndigiNews reporters and Indigenous leaders at the forefront of this work.
Here are seven ways that non-Indigenous allies can support healing for Indigenous people in the wake of this tragedy.
3. Call on your MP and other elected representatives to take action
Prioritize Indigenous-led resources to ground your conversations with others. (This IndigiNews story includes many resources created by Indigenous people.)
Many are taking place virtually and can be viewed after the fact. Wear orange to demonstrate your support for survivors and their families.
The Discourse is indebted to the wisdom and expertise of the team at IndigiNews for helping us understand how to contribute to this story in a respectful way that honours survivors and intergenerational survivors of Canada’s residential schools. As sister media organizations, we are committed to trauma-informed ethical reporting, which involves taking time and care, self-location, transparency and safety care plans for those who come forward with stories to share.
Anna McKenzie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, and Jacqueline Ronson, The Discourse