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Statement from Chair Henry on discovery of 215 children’s remains at former residential school

DURHAM: The following statement is being issued on behalf of John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer for The Regional Municipality of Durham:

“On behalf of the Region of Durham, I am overcome with sadness about the recent discovery of 215 children’s remains at the formal residential school on the land of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation in Kamloops, British Columbia. We honour and grieve for the children who were taken and never made it home.

The unacceptable truth is there have been similar discoveries made years ago, including those right here in Ontario. Too many discoveries.

This terrible news also mirrors the testimonies of lived experience given before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, stories of sons and daughters who were stolen from their families and who never came home. Too many stories.

In recognition of this difficult time, all flags at all Regional sites have been lowered to represent our shared sorrow and respect for these lost Indigenous children, their families, and their communities. I am committed to continue the work to build meaningful and respectful relationships with the community.

As we begin our recognition of Indigenous History month, we are reminded that the time is far overdue for honest reflection about our shared history with Indigenous communities.

We will continue to fund education on the history of colonization and the efforts to ensure cultural safe spaces at the Region. In June, the Region will be installing a flagpole to permanently fly the Mississaugas of Scugog Island flag at Regional Headquarters, in recognition of the lands we reside on.

This situation is a sobering reminder to all of us to examine our relationships with Indigenous Peoples, the lands we have the privilege to be on, and the work required to build relationships that uphold the Calls to Action in all our spaces.”

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