215 seconds of silence honouring the children found at unmarked burial site

As a follow up to yesterday’s statement from President Peter Stoicheff regarding the discovery of the remains of 215 children in an unmarked burial site at the former Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia, we would like to provide details to the USask community about the opportunity to stand together in solidarity, supporting one another through this difficult time of grief and loss.

As mentioned in yesterday’s statement, on Friday June 4 we will as a community observe 215 seconds of silence at 2:15pm in honour of these children. If you would like to observe this silence collectively, please register on Eventbrite for a virtual gathering starting at 2pm. To ensure that this sacred time is done in a good way, the space will be opened and closed by Elders, we will also hear an honour song from OVPIE’s Cultural Coordinator, Bob Badger prior to 2:15pm. The virtual space will be open at 2pm.

If you are unable to join the virtual gathering, please observe 215 seconds of silence at 2:15pm on June 4 where you are able to. Additionally, in a recent statement Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement Jacqueline Ottmann outlined some steps individuals can take during this difficult time.

Again, during this difficult time there are many supports available at the Student Wellness Centre and Student Affairs and Outreach. Staff and faculty can access confidential counselling through the Employee and Family Assistance Program. The following community-based supports are also available:

  • The Indian Residential School Survivors Society at 1-800-721-0066 along with a 24-hour crisis line at 1-866-925-4419 for those who need immediate support.
  • The KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides an Indigenous-specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It's toll-free and can be reached at 1-800-588-8717.
  • The First Nations Health Authority offers support specifically for survivors and families who have been directly impacted by the Indian Residential School system.

Dr. Jacqueline Ottmann
Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement
University of Saskatchewan