Secwépemc healing centre being discussed

·2 min read

During Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to Tk’emlúps on Oct. 18, Tk’emlúps Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir reiterated her call for the federal government to fund a healing centre for the band as another tangible step toward reconciliation, noting the findings of probable graves on band land has impacted survivors’ mental health.

Casimir said such a centre would offer healing programs for survivors and intergenerational survivors of residential schools.

Trudeau said he told Casimir his government will be working with the band on “important issues,” such as the healing centre, but stopped short of mentioning any specific funding commitment for such a space.

The prime minister also mentioned working with the band on an elders lodge, the designation of historic sites and continuing to get closure and commemoration with respect to its missing Indigenous children.

Casimir noted the band needs resources to complete the work of investigating the potential grave sites on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, something she said will be a long process and could have implications of criminal behaviour.

During a question period with the media, Trudeau said the federal government will work with all First Nations communities to ensure they have resources for identification of and recovery from unmarked burial sites.

He said requests for the funding have been coming in from across the country, noting the Indigenous Services Ministry has been working hard to deliver those resources.

“We will be there with as much as is necessary to get closure and be able to move forward across the country,” Trudeau said.

He added he is listening to what needs to be done to make amends for residential schools as a country.

“I hear you when you say not only words, but actions are the way forward,” Trudeau said.

Michael Potestio, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kamloops This Week

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