The continued Residential School findings have uncovered a great amount of trauma for those impacted by Canadian colonial systems past and present. The Shuswap Band has felt this grief spread across the community, and we continue to work internally and with other Nations and Governments to ensure all voices are heard and that healing can begin. While outward acts of advocacy and awareness are key for community efforts, so is the less visible but also important behind-the-scenes work. Leadership has been working continuously to have these difficult discussions and do the work necessary to move our community, survivors, elders, and youth forward on the path of healing. Below are just a few examples of what Chief & Council have done and continue to do for these efforts:
- Working closely and meeting frequently with the Ktunaxa Nation Council, ʔakisq̓nuk First Nation, Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡiʾit, ʔaq̓am, and Yaqan Nuʔkiy, and the City of Cranbrook to understand and further research the unmarked graves uncovered at St. Eugene’s Mission School
- We will be looking for a band member to sit on a working group to assist in the work at St. Eugene’s Mission School.
- Providing financial contributions to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc to help support in the process of learning more about and honouring those children found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School and meeting regularly with the Secwepemc Chiefs on next steps
- Supported the Walking the Spirits Home event from St. Eugene’s Mission School to the Shuswap Band community hall in the form of a reception with drummers, singers, food, and community support
Chief and Council continue to work with the resources they have to help the community in a way that is safe and responsible. In addition to the Residential School findings, COVID-19 and extreme wildfires have swept the Interior. Unfortunately, the current state of emergency means that we cannot support activities that put community members at risk at this time. Because of this, we look to support advocacy efforts in ways that keep the community protected, such as fundraising or spreading messages of awareness at home. We are more resilient together, and we look forward to working with the community to heal as one.
Kukpi7 Barbara Cote