Testimonies from survivors and their families in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report described unmarked graves of Indigenous Peoples at the sites of former Indian residential schools across the country. These testimonies record what Indigenous Peoples have long known about the horrific legacy and ongoing trauma of residential schools.
This week we learned about 751 unmarked graves of Indigenous children and adults found by the Cowessess First Nation at the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.
Our thoughts are with the Cowessess First Nation and the Indigenous communities and families who are experiencing acute grief, anger, and indescribable loss as they continue to deal with the intergenerational effects of residential schools.
In honour of those who have lost their lives and those who have endured, witnessed and felt the immense pain of these unspeakable tragedies, our flags will remain lowered for the next several weeks.
We recognize that trauma is compounded by these discoveries and that it not only reverberates throughout Indigenous communities across Canada but also impacts many of our colleagues and students on campus and in the surrounding community.
We ask our campus community to take pause and reflect during this challenging time. We stand with Indigenous communities, and it is our individual and collective responsibility to learn about and face the history of systemic racism, violence, and the intergenerational impacts experienced by Indigenous peoples. We all have a part to play in working towards meaningful change.
Students needing support are encouraged to contact the UWindsor Student Counselling Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment. Alternatively, MySSP provides (My Student Support Program) for 24/7 free confidential counselling by licensed counsellors available via talk or text. Call 1-844-451-9700 or download the MySSP app at www.uwindsor.ca/MySSP. Faculty and staff can access confidential support through the Employee and Family Assistance Program, which offers professional and confidential counselling and information services.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is also available to provide support for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of residential school experiences. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the national crisis line at 1-866 925-4419.
Robert Gordon, PhD
President & Vice-Chancellor
University of Windsor