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2022-02-03 – Statement on the former St. Joseph’s Mission B.C. residential school

A survey of land surrounding the former St. Joseph’s Mission B.C. residential school has identified 93 sites of “potential human burials”. Williams Lake First Nation Chief Willie Sellars:

“This reawakening in Indian country has allowed us to start the process of healing…forced Canadians to acknowledge the reality of residential schools and created unprecedented support for efforts to uncover the truth about the systemic abuses supported by the Canadian government, churches and the RCMP.”

“There can be no reconciliation before there is truth.” 

IRIS continues to stand beside and bear witness to the truth.

Source:  https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/williams-lake-st-josephs-residential-school-1.6326467

2021-07-09 – Statement on Ktunaxa Nation

182 unmarked grave sites have been discovered near the former St. Eugene’s Mission School residential school says the community of ʔaq̓am, one of four bands in the Ktunaxa Nation and located near the city of Cranbrook, B.C. Sharing the words of Chief Jason Louie of the Lower Kootenay Band, which is a member of the Ktunaxa Nation (2): 

“It is believed that the remains of these 182 souls are from the member bands of the Ktunaxa Nation, neighbouring First Nations communities and the community of ʔaq̓am… It’s very difficult… It was very impactful when we got the news of the 215 souls that were located in Kamloops. And now it’s very, very personal.” 

Standing with as we continue to learn the truth, mourn and gather strength.

2021-06-30 – Statement on the Cowessess Discovery

IRIS will continue to join other Canadians and Indigenous communities in acknowledging the genocide committed in this country. We will not turn away from the crimes that have been committed against 751 children and possibly some adults, who were found at the location of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan. We stand by Chief Bobby Cameron of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations in Saskatchewan, who stated, “We are seeing the result of the genocide Canada committed here…Now is the time for Canadians to act” and we cannot put a price tag on this. We will mourn beside Indigenous peoples each and every time, as Chief Cameron stated:

We will not stop until we find all of our children…Find the lost, send them home.1

Chief Cameron

2021-06-01 – Statement on The Discovery of a Mass Gravesite in Kamloops

IRIS joins other Canadians and Indigenous communities in acknowledging the horrific and unimaginable loss that has come to light with the unmarked buried remains of 215 children found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. While shocking and painful, it is not surprising. Canada’s history and ongoing legacy of genocide against Indigenous peoples and communities is witnessed yet again in this tragic reality; one that we expect lies in wait at many former sites of residential schools.

We pause today to remember and to mourn. We are reflecting on how we can grow our solidarity with Indigenous peoples and communities, and be guided by their leadership. We remain dedicated to confronting and transforming colonialism, ableism, racism, sexism and other marginalizing structures and practices that so deeply affect the lives of all Canadians and our communities.


  1. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-a-call-to-canadians-help-us-find-every-burial-site-bring-every/
  2. CBC News. (June 30, 2021). 182 unmarked graves discovered near residential school in B.C.’s Interior, First Nation says. Retrieved July 9, 2021 at: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-remains-residential-school-interior-1.6085990.