Campus Life  

Our deepest sympathies go out to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Text of "Our deepest sympathies go out to the Tk'emlups te Secwepemc" overlain on an orange background

Okanagan College respectfully acknowledges that our Salmon Arm campus is located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwepemc and our Penticton, Kelowna and Vernon campuses are located on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan people.

On Thursday, May 27, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc confirmed the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried in unmarked graves on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, which was once the largest in Canada’s residential school system.

On behalf of Okanagan College and the Board of Governors, we extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to all of the families of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community and all the survivors impacted by this tragic discovery. Our hearts go out to you during this difficult time.

We are profoundly saddened by the indescribable loss, indignity, and injustice of these actions, the ripple effects of which will be felt across generations.

We also recognize that those among our Okanagan College community may be hurting, grieving and in need of support at this time, particularly Indigenous students and employees of OC. Students in need of support are encouraged to reach out to Counselling Services, while employees can access support through OC’s Employee and Family Assistance program.

A national crisis line has been set up to provide support for former Residential School students and those affected. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.

Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717. Alternatively, you can call directly into the Youth Line at 250-723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250-723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/.

The First Nations Health Authority also has a Mental Health Benefit and the Métis Nation BC offers Mental Health Services.

As a society, days like today are a sad and stark reminder that we still have much further to go on the path toward reconciliation. We take comfort in knowing that the entire Okanagan College community remains steadfast in our commitment to being an ever more accessible, welcoming, supportive and inclusive place to learn and work. We also acknowledge that this work toward reconciliation must never stop.

Flags at Okanagan College campuses will be flown at half-staff this week in memory of those who lost their lives and in recognition of the survivors and all those affected.

Gloria Morgan
Chair, Okanagan College Board of Governors
Yawyawt all Xaxa7 t'e poonllp
(Strong and Smart Juniper)
Splatsina t'e Secwepemc

Neil Fassina
President, Okanagan College

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