June 25, 2021
The Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC) at UBC welcomes the agreement the Sisters of St. Ann (SSA) have reached with the Royal BC Museum (RBCM) and Archives to provide enhanced access to the records they hold related to their work in residential schools in British Columbia.
The IRSHDC is committed to work with the SSA, RBCM, and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) to ensure that the review of and access to records is timely and transparent, in service to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and all BC First Nations. The SSA operated in four residential schools in British Columbia – Kamloops Residential School, Kuper Island Residential School, Lower Post Residential School, and. St. Mary’s Residential School. All of the records related to the SSA’s work in these schools will be accessible under this agreement.
“We welcome this response to support records access for Survivors and First Nations in British Columbia. This work must be properly resourced, comprehensive, and timely to ensure no stone is unturned in finding the truth. The Centre at UBC will work with BC First Nations, Government, RBCM and other partners to ensure this work is not delayed,” says Centre Academic Director Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Aki-Kwe. “Adequate resources need to be available to ensure any investigation of missing children and unmarked burial locations are supported through accessible and usable records, and full cooperation by all.”
This agreement comes in response to the recent discovery at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. The First Nations Leadership Council petitioned Premier John Horgan, the BC government and the Sisters of St. Ann to release records related to the school and make transparent the agreement the provincial archives had with the SSA.
The IRSHDC will be supporting the work as a neutral third party in service to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and all BC First Nations. The agreement will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The full Memorandum of Understanding between the Sisters of St. Ann, the Royal BC Museum and Archives is available online.
For information on the Kamloops IRS, resources and more on the IRSHDC records and collections site.