An Open Letter
An open letter to the Tk'emlúps te Secwe̓pemc and all of those that bear the pain and grief of the recent discovery of unmarked graves with 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School: We recognize that the discovery should not have been a surprise to anyone. It was common knowledge within Indigenous communities as well as beyond. The Vancouver Branch of the Association of United Ukrainian Canadians has been a guest on the traditional and ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Peoples for nearly 100 years. As Ukrainian Canadian settlers, we want and need to do better in recognizing and acknowledging the genocide that took place across Canada.
Our executive committee encourages all members to support Indigenous communities in tangible and meaningful ways. There are many resources available to us to further expand our understanding of this genocide. Individuals can read and familiarize themselves with the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The University of Alberta offers a free Indigenous History Course. Donations can be made to organizations like the Indian Residential School Survivors Society. As a starting point, it is every Settler-Canadian's obligation to familiarize themselves with the First Nations on whose land they are guests. We must, as a Ukrainian Canadian community and as Settler-Canadians, make a commitment to educate ourselves on the truths of our history and on the continuing impacts of colonialism.