Words when words are not enough

Words when words are not enough

TW: The message below contains language about residential schools and the death of children.

To the King’s community,

Earlier today, Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation shared news of 751 unmarked graves found at the former Marieval Residential School on the Cowessess First Nation.

In his remarks Chief Delorme said, “All we ask of all of you listening is that you stand by us as we heal and we get stronger … we need time to heal and this country must stand with us.”

On behalf of King’s, we stand with the Cowessess First Nation, with the Mi’kmaw Nation, and with all Indigenous people across this land.

Knowing there are more young Indigenous voices calling to be found, and more of these chilling announcements to come, today’s painful news must deepen our commitment to the work of reconciliation and to its urgency here at King’s and in our lives.

As said before, anything less than the substantive implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action at King’s will make our words of sorrow and solidarity empty and meaningless.

Listening and learning is vitally important. There is a highly relevant online event happening tonight, June 24 at 6:00pm, called “They found us and we are coming home: The truth about residential schools.” This event is part of Dalhousie’s “Speak Truth to Power” forum. King’s Board Member, Catherine Martin, is one of the organizers and sponsors of this event in her role as Dalhousie’s Director of Indigenous Community Engagement, along with her colleague, Dr. Theresa Rajack-Talley, Dalhousie’s Vice Provost, Equity & Inclusion.  

The King’s flags will again be lowered and will stay at half mast throughout the Canada Day weekend. In a situation where words are shallow, we can at least signal that we mourn. For today, our flags represent our solidarity and our fervent commitment to actions to come.

A reminder that a National Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419. Members of the King’s community can seek various support services accessed through the King’s website. The Elders of The Elders in Residence program at Dalhousie are available to the King’s community for guidance, counsel and support. And the Indigenous Student Centre, also at Dalhousie, is there to support King’s as well as Dalhousie students.

Those of us who are settlers cannot know the deep personal grief of Indigenous families and communities, but we are united in sorrow and our commitment to change.


William Lahey
President and Vice-Chancellor

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