Dene Nation national Chief Norman Yakeleya is calling on the Churches of Canada to participate in honouring each child taken from their families and to acknowledge its wrong actions.
In the wake of the discovery of 215 children at the Kamloops former residential school, Yakeleya called on all levels of government to collaborate and “immediately begin similar search and excavation sites of former residential schools.”
“Sadly, we know this is not the only unmarked,” he said in a statement issued Wednesday.
In solidarity and remembrance of the 215 children who perished at the Kamloops institute and for all children that did not survive residential schools or other Canadian institutions for assimilation, the Dene Nation is hosting a memorial walk this Friday, June 4 from noon to 2 p.m. starting from the former Akaitcho Hall site. A pre-gathering will begin at 11 a.m. at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.
Yakeleya listed residential schools, Indian hospitals, the ‘60s scoop, federal day schools and ongoing issues of justice in correctional facilities as events that should compel a national inquiry.
“It’s time to gather the evidence-based distinction that fell in deaf ears as our Elders speak,” he said. “Families are still waiting for their children to come home. Enough is enough.”
Yakeleya further called on the federal government and churches “to come clean as we walk the path towards reconciliation.
“It is time we say the children’s names and bring them home.”