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statement of Support for Indigenous Children 

June 3, 2021 Board response to Indigenous missing children

Last week we heard about the horrific discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous residential school children in a mass grave near Kamloops,B.C.

This was shocking across the land but to Indigenous residential school survivors and their descendants it was no surprise. For decades they have been repeating their stories of the atrocities that occurred in residential schools and discrimination of First Nations people.

We were told of incidents of the RCMP forcibly removing children from Indigenous homes and sending them to schools far from their families where they were physically beaten if they spoke their native language and many died from disease and malnutrition. We can expect to find many more mass graves, as former Indigenous retired Senator and Justice Murray Sinclair.estimates that 25,000 children died in residential schools.

The stories and pleas of the Indigenous people have been received with indifference or disbelief by the general public and our elected officials.

As Jews, we know too well the suffering of the Indigenous people, as many of our parents or grandparents came to Canada to escape the persecution in Europe and lost many of their family in death camps or pogroms.

We say Kaddish every Shabbat morning for the Jews who have died in the holocaust in nameless graves and every November we listen to speakers during Holocaust Week. Recently, a Kol Ami family from the former Soviet Union celebrated the first bar mitzvah in over three generations because they grew up in a country where study of Torah was unlawful.

At Kol Ami, we stand by the Indigenous people and will continue to invite them to our congregation to listen and learn from them, share our experiences, build relationships, and give them the dignity that they deserve.

Sun, February 5 2023 14 Sh'vat 5783