PRO Statement on Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and Kamloops Residential School
Parks and Recreation Ontario (PRO) offers our deepest condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation and to the families of the 215 children found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. The confirmation of this grave site is evidence not only of the horrors of the residential school system as they were perpetrated, but also the lasting inter-generational trauma that Indigenous people continue to endure. It has prompted long overdue conversations about residential schools and systemic racism in Canada. At PRO, we are committed to looking inward and investigating ways to support Indigenous people as they seek redress for the legacy of residential schools.
Jeff Payne, Chair of PRO’s Board of Directors states: “One out of every 25 children who died in residential schools are undocumented and 17 of these schools were located here in Ontario. These communities have spoken about this atrocity for decades – we all need to listen, engage in serious self-examination, and work together to meaningfully support Indigenous people.”
“As an organization that does work that is rooted in the use of Ontario’s land, it is important to us that we seek true reconciliation with the people that have been here since the beginning,” says PRO CEO Cathy Denyer. “This is a call to action for all of us to support these communities; to put an end to the violence and discrimination they face every day.”
PRO honours these children, those that never returned home, and the survivors of the residential school system. We strive to carry this truth with us as we work to support greater equity, access, and accountability across the parks and recreation sector and beyond.