NRJ's Residential School Statement
June 3rd, 2021
Niagara Reproductive Justice acknowledges and mourns the deaths of 215 Indigenous children whose bodies were found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and we grieve the deaths of all those children whose bodies are yet to be discovered. In particular, we decry the horrific treatment of Indigenous families and children within the residential school system as a heinous violation of the third tenet of the reproductive justice movement: “(3) the right to parent children in safe and healthy environments.”1
Indigenous families have been robbed of this right by the Canadian government, the Church and all those who forcibly removed children from their parents in a genocidal pattern which continues today, when Indigenous children are vastly over-represented in Canada’s foster care system.
We demand urgent implementation of all the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, including those which will advance reproductive justice for Indigenous people by:
- reducing the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in child welfare systems
- fully implementing Jordan’s Principle, which will ensure all Indigenous children living in Canada can access the products, services and supports they need, when they need them2
- ensuring that Indigenous communities are in control of their own child welfare services
- developing culturally appropriate parenting programs.2, 3, 4
We also encourage all people living in Canada to take action by educating themselves about residential schools and other important Indigenous issues, supporting residential school survivors and working to advance reconciliation and decolonization everywhere.
A good starting point are the Setters Take Action (https://oncanadaproject.ca/settlerstakeaction) resources provided by the On Canada Project, a grassroots volunteer organization working to correct social inequities.
1. Ross, L., & Solinger, R. (2017). Reproductive Justice: An Introduction. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
2. Jordan’s Principle. Retrieved from: https://www.sac-isc.gc.ca/eng/1568396042341/1568396159824
3. National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (n.d.) Indigenous children and the child welfare system in Canada. Retrieved from: https://www.nccih.ca/docs/health/FS-ChildWelfareCanada-EN.pdf
4. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada [TRC]. (2015c). Canada’s residential schools: The legacy. Final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (Vol 5). Retrieved from: http://www.trc.ca/assets/pdf/Volume_5_Legacy_English_Web.pdf