Open Letter to the Indigenous Community

From HCI to Indigenous Communities on Turtle Island

To all Canadians and Inuit, First Nations and Métis peoples across Turtle Island,

We write this open letter to express our grief and sorrow following the discovery of the bodies of more than 1,300 lost children in undocumented, unmarked burial sites on the grounds former residential schools. What began as an introspection within our organization in May of 2021, has now become a commitment to change. We mourn with the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan, and the Lower Kootenay Band, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Nation, Ktunaxa Nation and Penelakut Tribes in British Columbia.

This news serves as a stark reminder of the horrors of the residential school system, and the need for stronger transparency and accountability. We extend our sincere condolences to all the families of residential school victims and the survivors who are again in mourning. Yet we know that this is never enough.

We recognize that these are just a few of the over 132 federal residential schools that formerly spanned from coast-to-coast-to-coast, and that there are thousands of Indigenous children who never returned home. Communities are owed the right to be reunited with their lost children, wherever they are, whatever the expense.

As a country of immigrants, we foremost have a duty to listen and stand in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples. Moreover, we have a responsibility to educate our citizens and residents about Indigenous history. As Canada’s first and oldest Muslim charity, we further commit to working with Indigenous communities to break barriers of access to fundamental rights, including clean water, safe housing and overall good health. Through our programming, we will build stronger relationships with our Indigenous neighbors from across Canada.

As organizations and as individuals, we can and will do better. We stand in solidarity with those that have lost loved ones and experienced both personal and intergenerational trauma due to the dark history of colonialism, residential schools, the 60’s scoop, and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

We promise to share your stories, advocate for meaningful action, and stand with you.

HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.

August 04, 2021

Human Concern International

Ottawa, Canada

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