'Let the kids go home.'
Those words, and many more, cover a statue of Egerton Ryerson at Ryerson University in Toronto (Thread) https://t.co/FKW7zGK5uA
Ryerson has long been considered the architect of Canada's residential school system, where thousands of Indigenous youth were sent with the aim of assimilating them into Canadian society.
The graffiti on the Ryerson statue is reflective of the anger and trauma felt throughout Indigenous & allied communities across Canada after the remains of at least 215 children were found...
... in an unmarked grave at the now-closed Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia in May 2021.
It was the largest school of its kind, according to the Associated Press.
The remains were discovered last weekend using ground-penetrating radar, including remains belonging to children as young as 3 years old.
'I can't even imagine what other parents, mothers are going through, and knowing that they have lost [loved] ones is very hard,' said Chief Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc First Nation.
'We all had to take time to absorb what we were told, what we'd seen. And, you know, we're still grappling through the effects.'
According to the AP, the Kamloops Indian Residential School operated from 1890 to 1969 and was part of a Christian school system run by churches from the 19th century up to the 1970s.
The Indigenous youth housed at the schools were not allowed to practice Indigenous customs and language. Thousands are believed to have died in the schools, where abuse and neglect were prevalent.
Canada's government previously apologized for the school system in Parliament in 2008. In remarking on this latest discovery, current Canadian PM Justin Trudeau acknowledged that this is was not an 'isolated incident.'
Many Indigenous peoples have visited the school since the remains were uncovered, looking to commemorate the lives of the 215 lost.
'These past few days have been very, very heartfelt and very hard, hard for our community, hard for the leadership. It was shocking at every single level. And, you know, right now, you know, our community is grieving,' said Chief Casimir.