A statement from the Director of Education, Pat Daly

Like many of you, I was devastated to learn of the remains of 215 children found at the site of a former residential school for Indigenous children in British Columbia.

This horrific revelation comes just days before we prepare to recognize National Indigenous History Month across our schools, and is a painful and sobering reminder of the history we must keep alive in our classrooms – so that we never forget the suffering and devastation that the First Nations, Inuit and Métis people have endured throughout a very dark and shameful period of our nation’s history.

We are committed to the work of Truth and Reconciliation in our HCDSB schools. We do this by prioritizing engagement with Indigenous parents and community partners while supporting the delivery of Indigenous education in an inclusive and equitable manner. It is crucial that First Nation, Métis and Inuit histories and perspectives continue to be taught in our Catholic schools so that we can rebuild and reconcile the relationship with Indigenous communities.

We grieve alongside the Indigenous members in our community and across our nation. Every child matters.

As a symbol of our collective grief, we will lower the flags at our Board Office and across all of our schools to half-mast this week.

We pray for the souls of the 215 young lives that were taken from their families and taken from our world. We pray for truth. We pray for reconciliation. We pray for healing.

Mental Health Support for Indigenous Students

Hope for Wellness Help Line (https://www.hopeforwellness.ca/) provides immediate mental health counselling and crisis intervention to all indigenous peoples in English, French, Cree, Ojibway or Inuktitut upon request. 1-855-242-3310

The Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) offers a 24-hour Mental Health and Addictions Crisis Line with culturally specific mental health and addiction supports for adults, youth, and families in Ontario in both English and French, please call: 1-877-767-7572

Native Child and Family Services of Toronto  https://nativechild.org/

Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres https://ofifc.org/programs/health-wellness/ 

Talk 4 Healing www.talk4healing.com Helpline providing support, help and resources for Indigenous women in Ontario.

Anishnawbe Toronto www.aht.ca provides mental health counseling and traditional counseling that provides support which considers the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical needs of every individual.

CAMH Aboriginal Service The Aboriginal Service provides outpatient groups and individual counselling to Aboriginal people experiencing substance use and other mental health challenges.

Brighter Days: An Indigenous Wellness Program Brighter Days: An Indigenous Wellness Program by Kids Help Phone was developed by Indigenous experts to empower First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth with skills, tools and resources to support their well-being. 

Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program

The IRSRHSP has a National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) that provides immediate emotional support for former Indian Residential School students.  Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

CAMH has also created this comprehensive list of supports