Statement from President McKerlie
This morning, our college lowered flags to half-mast and will keep them lowered for 215 hours, nine days, in honour of the 215 children whose remains were discovered on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia. We hold in our hearts these children, their families, and their communities. We acknowledge and honour the experiences of all Survivors of residential schools and their families, and Indigenous communities across Turtle Island, who are coping with the news of this discovery. Mohawk College offers its deepest condolences to all who are grieving and coping at this time.
This news serves to remind us that Indigenous communities continue to be re-traumatized by the historic wrongs that we need to continue to acknowledge and address. Much work needs to be done and Mohawk College is committed to being an active partner in reconciliation with Indigenous communities.
As we look towards June and Indigenous Peoples History Month, I strongly encourage you to commit time for learning the history of residential schools and listening to the truths of the Survivors, as well as learning more about Indigenous communities, histories, languages, and perspectives. We have a number of events planned over the next few weeks, which will provide the opportunity for dialogue and reflection.
We would also like to acknowledge the pain and distress that the discovery in Kamloops has caused Indigenous staff, faculty, and students at Mohawk College. If you are struggling, please reach out to someone you trust. There are resources available if you are seeking help to cope.
- For staff: The Employee Assistance Program, available to all Mohawk College staff through MyMohawk.
- For students: The counselling department can be reached at https://www.mohawkcollege.ca/student-well-being/counselling. You can also contact Empower Me (for all students) 1-833-628-5589 www.studentcare.ca or Good2Talk 1-866-925-5454 www.good2talk.ca.
- For Survivors and their families: The Indian Residential School Survivors Society can be reached toll-free at 1-800-721-0066. There is also a national crisis line at 1-866-925-4419.
- If you are experiencing a mental health emergency, please call 911, COAST at 905-972-8338, or go to the nearest emergency department.
Ron J. McKerlie
President & CEO, Mohawk College