B.C. First Nation, Catholic Church announce ‘sacred covenant’ to be signed on Easter

B.C. First Nation, Catholic Church announce 'sacred covenant' to be signed on Easter
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
The former Kamloops Indian Residential School, left, is seen in an aerial view on Tk'emlups te Secwepemc land, in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, Sept. 11, 2023.

Vancouver’s Catholic Archbishop says a ‘Sacred Covenant’ agreement has been reached with the First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., that announced the discovery the remains of more than 200 children at the site of a former residential school.

Archbishop J. Michael Miller of the Catholic archdiocese of Vancouver says the agreement with the Tk’emlĂşps te SecwĂ©pemc will open a “new chapter” in the relationship between the church and First Nations in B.C.

Miller says the church recognizes its complicity in the Canadian government’s colonialist policies toward First Nations and the “resulting tragedies” from the residential school system.

Chief Rosanne Casimir of Tk’emlĂşps te SecwĂ©pemc says the covenant will see the church share records and information as the nation continues to investigate the site of a former Kamloops Indian Residential School where hundreds of children went missing.

The nation announced in May 2021 that a search around the former school site using ground-penetrating radar found the unmarked burial sites of the remains of more than 200 children who were students at the school.

The Nation and the archdiocese say the agreement includes commitments from the church on how to properly memorialize residential school survivors, information sharing about missing children and to offer “healing services” to family members of those who attended the school.

SEE ALSO: First Nations discuss future of food sovereignty on Vancouver Island

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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