June 24, 2021
Dear Bloomberg Nursing Community,
Today, we have once more learned about another mass grave containing the remains of children this time at the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan.
This is more than a tragedy, it is a trauma being experienced by survivors of former residential schools and by members of Indigenous communities, like the Cowessess First Nation, who have been carrying this pain for generations. I urge each one of us to reflect on these atrocities and their impact on our colleagues and students, and to think proactively about how we as individuals and as nurses, can help to advance reconciliation, and address continued injustices against Indigenous peoples.
As more mass graves are discovered on the sites of former residential schools, our Indigenous community members will require our support. As nurses, educators and primary care providers, it is part of our responsibility to ensure that we take an active role in reducing harm, address systemic racism, and seek to actively remove barriers to care for the Indigenous communities we serve.
As a Faculty, we are finding ways to support Indigenous students throughout their studies, and to address systemic racism and injustices through our curriculum and training in meaningful ways, but we need to do more and will do more.
For members of the U of T community including, staff, faculty and students, the supports listed below are available for anyone in need:
For all survivors and their families:
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line 1-866-925-4419 is available 24-hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of his or her Residential school experience.
NWAC (Native Women’s Association of Canada): Elders available for support via toll-free phone numbers: Native Women’s Association Contact
U of T Indigenous Student Services: https://indigenous.utoronto.ca/students/current-students/
U of T My Student Support Program provides immediate phone support in 35 languages. This service is available 24/7 by calling 1-844-451-9700. Outside of North America, call 001-416-380-6578.
U of T Employee and Family Assistance: https://hrandequity.utoronto.ca/employees/efap/
Linda Johnston PhD FEANS FCAHS FAAN
Dean, Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
University of Toronto