A message from Ehsan Safdari on the Indian Residential School mass burial site in Kamloops, B.C.

Over the last several days, our TSoM community has collectively felt a deep sadness with the discovery of 215 children buried on the grounds of a former Indian Residential School in Kamloops, British Columbia.

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation continues to work with museum specialists and archeologists to uncover the cause and timing of death, but it’s worth noting that the death of these children and mass graves were never documented by school administrators.

The Toronto School of Management, like other institutions, is located on traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and Toronto is home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples.

As settlers we will always stand in solidarity with the Indigenous people of Canada. We recognize our role as individuals but also as a collective, as an educational institution, to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous people.

The month of June represents an opportunity for us as settlers and visitors of this land to responsibly educate ourselves and those around us on this dark chapter of Canadian colonialism, injustice, and racism. On June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day marks the arrival of summer solstice with cultural, historical, and spiritual significance across for many across the world — but in particular, our Indigenous community. A part of that commitment is learning more, and understanding that we still greatly benefit from colonialism in Canada. We encourage our students, staff, and faculty to take the time to learn more about this land and its Indigenous roots this month.

As we honour the memories of these children and keep their families and communities in our thoughts, we commit to educating our communities beyond land acknowledgments — we continue to recognize the ongoing colonial relationship in Canada with diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and work within our own personal, professional, and public spaces to advance the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island.

Learn more about the history of residential school systems in Canada and their impacts.