A sign is seen outside of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The remains of 215 children have been found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Snucins

A sign is seen outside of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, B.C. on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The remains of 215 children have been found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Snucins

Religious order that ran residential school renews apology to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc

Father Ken Thorson says that order pledges to help with investigation into mass grave

  • Jun. 1, 2021 9:00 a.m.

Kamloops This Week

The spokesperson for the religious order that ran the Kamloops Indian Residential School for decades said the group has reached out to Tk’emlups te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir to offer assistance and to express it sympathies following the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former school.

Father Ken Thorson is with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the religious congregation that administered the Kamloops residential school a few years after it opened in 1890 until 1969, when the federal government assumed control.

“I want people to know that the Oblates are going to do what we can to assist the band with their investigation,” Thorson said, noting he had emailed Casimir on the weekend and will attempt to contact her again this week.

“And also, certainly, to express our sympathies. I mean, clearly we were part of a system that long did significant amount of damage to First Nations communities in Kamloops and in so many other places across the country. And so we’re trying to do what we can, along with others, to work towards reconciliation.”

While the Catholic Church as a whole has not apologized for its role in residential schools in Canada, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate did offer an apology in 1991 and later paid out money in lawsuits and contributed to the $3 billion in compensation given to 28,000 claimants who were residential school survivors.

Thorson said the records from the Kamloops Indian Residential School are with the Royal BC Museum, noting the Victoria museum had been in contact with the Secwépemc Museum at Tk’emlups regarding school records before the May 27 announcement regarding the remains of the children being found.

Thorson noted the Oblates have priests and brother across Canada.

“And so, there may be records elsewhere. We’re looking into that right now,” he said. “We are looking into that and whatever else we have related to the school, Of course, we would want to make that available to the investigation.”

In the apology, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate state that they understand the heavy toll that years of colonialism and residential schools played in the intergenerational trauma present in Indigenous communities today.

In part, the statement read:

“We apologize for the part we played in the cultural, ethnic, linguistic and religious imperialism that was part of the mentality with which the peoples of Europe first met the aboriginal peoples and which consistently has lurked behind the way the Native peoples of Canada have been treated by civil governments and by the churches.

We were, naively, part of this mentality and were, in fact, often a key player in its implementation. We recognize that this mentality has, from the beginning, and ever since, continually threatened the cultural, linguistic, and religious traditions of the Native peoples.”

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is offering toll-free 24-hour telephone support for survivors and their families at 1 (866) 925-4419. The =KUU-US Crisis Line Society’s 24-hour line is at 1-800-588-8717.

READ MORE: First Nation MLA says B.C. must do more for Indigenous reconciliation after residential school deaths

READ MORE: ‘Delicate, sensitive process:’ Expert talks on searching for burial sites with radar


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenousresidential schools

Just Posted

Graeme Wright is the owner of Hullabaloo, a new ice cream and coffee food truck serving patrons at the Red Barn on West Saanich. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff).
VIDEO: Cool treats, warm bevvies a specialty for new Saanich food truck

Hullabaloo owner Graeme Wright passionate about blending green space with sustainability

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

Nicky Cook and Kelly Yee set up their stand at Peninsula Country Market. (Black Press Media file photo)
Peninsula farmers markets ready to welcome back patrons

Both the Peninsula Country Market and North Saanich Farm Market plan to expand offerings in the summer

The closure of Government Street to vehicle traffic between Humboldt and Yates streets began June 11. The corridor will be pedestrian-only between noon and 10 p.m. daily until at least this fall. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Downtown Victoria timed closure of Government Street begins

Pedestrian priority times part of city’s Build Back Victoria program

Workers clean off the red paint sprayed on the statue of Queen Victoria at the front of the B.C. legislature Friday. It is unclear when the vandalism took place. A protest rally against old-growth logging was happening on the legislature lawns Friday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
UPDATE: Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue base splattered with what looks to be red paint, old-growth logging protest held in afternoon

t
How to tell if a call from ‘CRA’ is legitimate or a scam

Expert says it’s important to verify you really are dealing with the CRA before you give out any info

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

British Columbia-Yukon Community News Association’s 2021 Ma Murray Awards were handed out during a virtual ceremony on Friday, June 10. (Screen grab)
Black Press Media winners take gold at B.C. and Yukon journalism awards

Publications received nods in dozens of categories

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets campers while visiting McDougall, Ont. on Thursday, July 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
71% of B.C. men say they’d prefer to go camping with Trudeau: survey

Most British Columbians with plans to go camping outdoors say they’d prefer to go with Trudeau or Shania Twain

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Chilliwack cocaine trafficker Clayton Eheler seen with a tiger somewhere in Asia in 2014. Eheler was sentenced to nine years jail in 2018, but was released on bail in October 2020 pending his appeal of conviction.(Facebook)
Director of civil forfeiture seeks $140,000 from Fraser Valley drug dealer’s father-in-law

Clayton Eheler’s father-in-law Ray Morrissey caught with money in Fort St. John by B.C.’s gang unit

A Comox Valley shellfish operator pleaded guilty and was fined $10,000 in provincial court in Courtenay earlier this year. Record file photo
B.C. clam harvester fined $10,000 for Fisheries Act violations

Charges against three others were stayed in Courtenay Provincial Court

Frank Phillips receives a visit from his wife Rena at Nanaimo Seniors Village on their 61st wedding anniversary, March 31, 2020. Social visits have been allowed since COVID-19 vaccination has been offered in all care homes. (Nanaimo News Bulletin)
B.C. prepares mandatory vaccination for senior care homes

180 more cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Friday, one more death

Lorraine Gibson, 90, received a COVID-19 immunization at the South Surrey Park and Ride vaccination clinic. (File photo: Aaron Hinks)
Surrey has had 25% of B.C.’s total COVID-19 cases

Surrey recorded 4,012 cases in May

Most Read