Wapna’kikewi’skwaq – Women of First Light sends our Prayers, love, and light across Turtle Island from the People of the Dawn. As Clan Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunties, and Mothers we are devastated and heartbroken by the news of the 215 beautiful children who were found in BC. Two hundred and fifteen future Clan Mothers, fire keepers, storytellers, leaders, and protectors that were taken brutally from our Nations. We Pray for their Spirit journeys as we Pray for their families and all our communities.
Now is the time for Truth to lead in the “Truth and Reconciliation” process that has so often been claimed by Canada but never fully implemented. The truth is the first thing the settlers did was replace the names of our Sacred Waterways and Homelands. Then they forced our people onto institutions called reserves. Then they made it law that we could not perform our Sacred Ceremonies or speak our Beautiful Languages, and then they stole our children.
We call on all governments to stand for these 215 children and the countless others who never made it home, and for those who came home with their spirits broken. We urge all governments to recognize the genocide that has been unfolding on this land for Indigenous Peoples for centuries, and then take concrete actions in response to that truth to put an end to the injustices and atrocities that we continue to face. What is truly required is "Truth and Reparation." This atrocity of 215 defenseless Indigenous Children found is only one of many acts of genocide that state, police, and church have committed in Canada.
Every residential school site in Canada is a crime scene. Therefore, there must be independent criminal investigations conducted at each site to determine the true measure of the lives that have been lost. The children in this mass gravesite in BC must be given the dignity of being identified and named, so that their families can be notified, and they can be respectfully returned to their home communities for a loving burial. Additionally, we call on all governments to fully address the Calls for Action in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Final Inquiry Report
To the federal government, we say shame on you for continuing to appeal the settlement for residential school survivors in BC. You should be investing in true reconciliation and actively supporting those who were harmed, instead of wasting money trying to avoid responsibility for the harm that has been committed. Your current actions are adding another layer of abuse to the staggering levels of harm that Indigenous Peoples have already experienced, and you are doing so using taxpayer funds. Canadians are justifiably outraged by your ongoing abuse and your failure to uphold the trust given to you by the citizens of Canada.
Today, there are more Indigenous children in foster care than there were in residential schools. This is a clear sign of failure of the Canadian government to ameliorate the ongoing abuse and genocidal taking of our children. This must be stopped.
We extend our deepest gratitude and support to women like Cindy Blackstock and Pam Palmater who continue to fight for the protection of Indigenous children. They have bravely called out the ongoing genocide committed by the Canadian government. It is time for all of us, Indigenous Peoples and settlers alike, to call on all levels of government to take responsibility for the atrocities that these children and their families have experienced and to take meaningful actions to ensure that these harms do not continue into the future. It is time for Canada to begin to honor and value the sacredness of every life, including the lives of all Indigenous Peoples.
Wapna’kikewi’skwaq - Women of First Light
Millbrook First Nations, NS