CNS Statement on the Missing Children of the Kamloops Indian Residential School

The Canadian Nutrition Society (CNS) Board of Directors, committees and staff are saddened by the recent news of the 215 innocent children whose remains were discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School on the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, BC. Our hearts go out to the families and communities affected by this tragedy. We also recognize that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimates that many thousands of Indigenous children died while attending residential schools. We know that the legacy of the residential school system affects almost every Indigenous family and the effect on communities is ever present.

CNS realizes that the nutrition sector bears part of the responsibility; this includes food and nutrition research practices that failed to protect the health and safety of residential children. Further, we have continued to fail to engage Indigenous peoples in a meaningful way. We have an obligation to acknowledge our responsibility and to move forward in partnership with Indigenous peoples to create education and research opportunities that meaningfully integrate the knowledge, diversity and values of First Nations, the Métis Nation, and Inuit groups.

June marks the beginning of National Indigenous History Month, when we celebrate the history, heritage and diversity of First Nations, the Métis nation, and Inuit people in Canada. It is our duty to remember and honour the victims of the residential school system. In the coming weeks and months, please watch for educational opportunities to learn more about residential school systems, the role the nutrition sector played, and actions toward reconciliation. Please also share your thoughts and ideas on meaningful actions CNS should take as a society to make meaningful contributions toward reconciliation.

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