The discovery of the 215 Indigenous children buried at the Kamloops Residential School, the 104 found at the Brandon Residential School, and the 751 found at the Marieval Indian Residential School are a tragic reality of colonization. Spokane Public Library would like to acknowledge the pain and loss these tribal communities are experiencing. There are no words that could possibly soothe the wounds that this discovery and the impacts of residential schools and other colonial policies has had on the First people of the Americas.
While this discovery occurred in Canada, we want to acknowledge that the United States also had similar policies and impacts on Indigenous communities here in the United States called boarding schools. We know there were 357 similar boarding schools in the United States, 14 of which were in Washington State. Additionally, many tribal members in the Spokane region have personal connections to the Kamloops Residential School.
We know that words are not enough but we also know that we must make visible the impacts of how colonial violence has caused so much damage to our Indigenous community members. We encourage our customers to check out this list of books to learn more about how the boarding school system was used as a form of genocide:
- Shi-shi-etko by Nicola Campbell
- Shin-chi’s Canoe by Nicola Campbell
- When we were alone by David Robertson
- I am not a number by Jenny Kay Dupuis
- When I was eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton
- Amik loves school by Katherena Vermette
- I lost my talk by Rita Joe
- I’m finding my talk by Rebecca Thomas
- An indigenous people’s history of the United States for young people by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- Fatty leg: a true story by Christy Jordan-Fenton