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Momentum’s response to the Kamloops Residential School discovery

Sometimes there are just not enough words to adequately express what we feel. Recently, Momentum learned of the Blackfoot word anitopisi. According to the Blackfoot creation story, anitopisi is the spider web, and vibrations on the web indicate a problem that we must attend to. Right now, a major vibration has occurred. We are experiencing deep, collective sorrow. We are seeing it on the news, in our social media feeds, and having conversations with our friends and families. At Momentum, we were horrified about the news that the remains of 215 children were recently found on the grounds of a former residential school site in Kamloops that operated from 1890 to 1978. Sadly, this only confirms what many in the Indigenous community have known and spoken of for years.  

Now is the time to learn more about the history of residential schools in Canada, to listen, to grapple with our country’s history, and to plan for a better future. There are many resources online including the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) reports, the TRC Calls to Action, and the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. June is National Indigenous History Month. Reconciliation requires learning, and this learning will be uncomfortable.

As a partner in the Enough for All poverty reduction strategy, and as Treaty 7 people on the land of the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney-Nakoda, and Metis Nation Region 3, Momentum is committed to the goal that all Indigenous People are equal participants in Calgary’s future. We recognize that systemic racism and intergenerational trauma has created significant negative impacts on the lives of Indigenous People in our country, and because of this many individuals struggle to actively participate in our economy. As an organization, we acknowledge that we are very early in our own reconciliation journey but we are committed to this critical learning and growing.  At our staff meeting next week, the Momentum team will take a 215 second moment of silence to reflectMoving forward we will continue to invest in our Indigenous Engagement Strategy and Working Group to put action behind our reconciliation commitments. 

The events of the past few days have been especially traumatic for Indigenous individuals and families, especially during a time where restrictions prevent traditional forms of healing through ceremony and gathering. We send our deep condolences to the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc community and all Indigenous People. 

If you need emotional support, The National Indian Residential Schools Crisis line is available 24 hours a day, every day at 1-866-925-4419. 

The anitopisi story was told to us by Elder Roy Bear Chief and was often shared by his brother Clement Bear Chief from Siksika Nation. We thank them for sharing this powerful story. 

We respect those who came before us and acknowledge that we operate on Treaty 7 land – home to the Kainai, Piikani, Siksika, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney-Nakoda and Metis Nation Region 3.  

 

 

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