Mourning the injustice of lives lost in the residential school system

On June 23, the Cowessess First Nation found the remains of hundreds of children in unmarked graves on the site of the former Marieval residential school in Saskatchewan. This news has devastated our college community. The Marieval Indian Residential School operated from 1899 to 1997 in the area where Cowessess is now located, about 140 kilometres east of Regina – the long-term intergenerational trauma of the school is felt deeply.

We reflect on what the experiences, pain, loss, and injustice of the Indian Residential School System have wrought.  We are committed to changing entire systems and understanding that we do not have to have lived the trauma Indigenous Peoples have to be allies in our journey to reconciliation. We will humbly reflect, grieve and learn the enormity of the trauma our Indigenous colleagues, students and communities have endured. We will not lean on them today, but we will lift them up with our respect and empathy for what they have suffered and continue to suffer.

We recognize the great responsibility of educational institutions to ensure systemic barriers of oppression are eradicated and are working toward true reconciliation. Our critical work connects our Indigenous students to Elders, and we recommit our efforts to ensure all in our community learn about Indigenous culture and history. We believe community, relationships, and reciprocity are essential.

We offer our deepest condolences to those suffering through these ongoing traumatic injustices – Bow Valley College stands with you.


The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their Residential school experience. Find contact details here.


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