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A Statement from NSCC President Don Bureaux - May 30, 2021

May. 30, 2021 – Statement

Our community is heartbroken at the news this week of the discovery of 215 lost lives, uncovered on the grounds of a former Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia. We will be lowering our flags to half-mast at all our sites from sunrise Monday, May 31 until sunset Tuesday, June 8 – or 215 hours – to honour their memories.

Our thoughts are with the Survivors and their families as they grieve.

At this time, it is so important to acknowledge the tragic part of Canadian history that took place throughout our country because of the Residential School system, and the lasting intergenerational trauma it has caused. We remember all of the Indigenous children whose lives were forever lost and those whose lives were forever changed because of it, including the approximate 1,100 Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqiyik children who attended the Shubenacadie Indian Residential school between 1930 and 1967. We stand in solidarity with Survivors and families. We promise to use this moment to listen with open hearts to the stories so that we can understand, learn and act as a College community.

Call for a National Day of Mourning

I join in the growing call across the country for a National Day of Mourning for the Lost Children of Residential School. We want to be a part of officially honouring the 215 individuals now found, better comprehend the intergenerational trauma and hold them in our hearts until their names are brought to light and their lives will no longer be forgotten.

Supports available

There is a lot of pain, a lot of trauma being surfaced as a result of this tragic discovery, including the knowledge of the potential for others not yet found. I hope you will all take care of yourselves and each other and remember the College supports available for employees and students if you need them.

There is also support available through:
  • The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) (Toll-free telephone: 1-800-721-0066)
  • A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected.
  • Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
  • The Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Crisis and Referral Centre is available at 1-855-379-2099.

Truth and Reconciliation

As a learning institution, NSCC is committed to helping create and foster a just and equitable community. As I have said before, there is no way to fulfill our promise to our community to be a welcoming place to learn and work and grow unless we do our part as raised through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Calls to Action.

Through the new Centre for the Advancement of Educational Equity and Belonging, NSCC is actively embarking on the path to reconciliation by providing and enhancing Elder on Campus programs at additional campus sites, embedding Indigenous knowledge into our curriculum, creating new cohorts for Indigenous students, researching Indigenous transitions to post-secondary, and advising on a national level for advancements in Indigenous Education. To foster a sense of belonging, over the course of the past year, we have created networks for employees and students from several equity-seeking communities to gather and support one another. For Indigenous staff members who are interested in joining the Indigenous Employee Resource Network (requires employee login), please connect with the network co-chairs. For Indigenous students who would like to join the student network, please reach out to one of our Student Advisors, Indigenous Supports. Through Colleges and Institutes Canada (CiCan), we are committed to the TRC Calls to Action and are a signatory to the CiCan Indigenous Education Protocol.

Please take time to learn more through these important resources: