Content warning: Residential schools, death
Recently we shared a response addressing the news around the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. As the weeks have progressed, we acknowledge the ongoing investigation of additional unmarked graves on the grounds of former residential schools across Canada. We extend our thoughts to the Tk’emlups Secwépemc First Nation and each of the Indigenous communities, Nations, families and youth affected by this news.
As a settler organization, we have a significant responsibility to call out and dismantle colonialism in the work that we do and reflect on how we have contributed and benefited from the genocidal displacement of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples. At Foundry, we are working respectfully to hold and nurture relationships with Indigenous Peoples, including Indigenous youth and family advisors, staff, lead agencies and partners, who lead, guide and inform our work.
Providing safer and more inclusive care for Indigenous young people, families and communities is our priority. In order to do this work well, we must cultivate cultural safety and humility. As an organization we strive to achieve this by:
- Holding ourselves accountable when we make mistakes and learning from them. Recently, we posted a message on Facebook to honour and celebrate National Indigenous History Month. An Indigenous staff member noted that the language we used was insensitive and caused harm. We decided to take the post down and consulted with our Indigenous Wellness Team, to debrief and learn from this experience. At the moment, we are working on revising the original content and look forward to sharing this again at a later date.
- Making a significant commitment to developing, implementing and sustaining an Indigenous Cultural Safety and Humility Framework. This includes the creation of an Indigenous Wellness Team led and staffed by Indigenous folks in Foundry who work alongside Indigenous consultants and knowledge keepers.
- Making a commitment to ensure that all Foundry staff participate in ongoing learning opportunities to increase our knowledge of the historical and current experiences of colonization and genocide.
- Committing to hearing and telling the truth of the continuing harm resulting from the ongoing colonization of Indigenous Peoples.
- Committing to building resources, investing in Indigenous staff and supporting the Indigenous Wellness work across the province where Foundry has a presence.
- Honouring and supporting Indigenous colleagues as knowledge keepers who help guide our growth and humility in this work.
Words and good intentions are not enough. We know that these are all starting points and that Foundry needs to do more to redress the centuries of genocide that continues to take place on the stolen, ancestral and occupied territories of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples who have been here for millennia.
We invite you to learn more from Indigenous resources that have been recommended to us by the Indigenous Wellness Team at Foundry as a starting point:
- Foundry’s Indigenous Wellness & Engagement Coordinator, Seren Friskie, authored a post on Orange Shirt Day and the History of Residential Schools.
- Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
- In Plain Sight. Addressing Indigenous-specific Racism and Discrimination in B.C. Health Care Data Report.
For more information on Indigenous-led supports and services available to those who need it, please refer to these organizations below:
- National Indian Residential School Crisis Line: 1 866-925-4419
- KUU-US Crisis Line: 1-800-588-8717
- Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society: 1-888-403-3123 or 250-390-3123
- Indian Residential School Survivors Society: 604-985-4464 or 1-800-721-0066