Tragically, the past year has been punctuated by far too many reminders of colonialism and racism inflicted on Indigenous Peoples. Well-established principles of care, respect and compassion have been inexcusably absent.
As we reflect upon, acknowledge, and remember the 215 precious lives lost on the territory of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation, the former site of the residential school in Kamloops, there is no doubt that the legacy of residential schools continues to shadow our society, and that healing inter-generational trauma is a part of everyday lives for many Indigenous Peoples and communities.
I believe we all have a responsibility to work respectfully with Indigenous Peoples to address this devastating legacy of pain and mistrust. We must establish safe spaces and culturally safe care in the health system. We must commit to creating and strengthening collaborative and respectful relationships with Indigenous patients and communities through efforts to implement the recommendations relevant to health care made in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We must make more substantive and structural change through action.
As a physician, I offer my sincere apology for the harm caused to Indigenous Peoples. I commit to working with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples to achieve change. I also commit to listening, learning and contributing in a respectful way as we work toward meaningful reconciliation.
Dr. Ann Collins