Supporting Indigenous Workers

Last week, we learned of the horrific and devastating news about the discovery of the graves of 215 Indigenous children in Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc near Kamloops, British Columbia. The remains of these young children were found on the grounds of what was once Canada’s largest residential school. We humbly acknowledge the painful memories this news invokes and hold that knowledge respectfully.

On behalf of the Construction Industry Rehabilitation Plan, the BC Building Trades and Construction Labour Relations Association of BC, we are writing to our community to extend our sympathies, to express our outrage and heartbreak, and to offer our allyship in support of Indigenous communities.

As we grieve for these children, their families, and their communities, this tragedy is a reminder that we need to continue to do more and learn more. Reconciliation is a journey that we have committed to in our industry and it is incumbent upon each and every one of us to engage in the work this process requires. Our respective reconciliation strategies and action plans will guide us forward.

We must all make the commitment to reconciliation, each and every one of us, employer, worker, and colleague. We must commit to this and support one another in our individual and collective healing.

As we think of the challenges and the impact of this news on the Indigenous community within our industry, we ask our members to pause and reflect, and lean on the supports that are available if they need to.

Available Supports:

At this time, people may need to gather or seek individual resources to find support. The following counselling resources are available to those in our communities who may need them:

• Employees seeking counselling should access the employee assistance program for resources and counselling.

• Emotional, cultural and professional support services are also available to survivors and their families through the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program.

• A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former residential school students. You can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-Hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419

• Within B.C., the KUU-US Crisis Line Society provides a First Nations and Indigenous specific crisis line available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, toll-free from anywhere in British Columbia. The KUU-US Crisis Line can be reached toll-free at 1 800 588-8717.

Alternatively, call direct into the Youth Line at 250 723-2040 or the Adult Line at 250 723-4050, or online: https://www.kuu-uscrisisline.com/

• Indigenous employees may also contact their home community for support or referral.

• Metis employees may contact their regional office or Metis Nation BC https:///www.mnbc.ca for support or referral.

Circle of Eagles Lodge Society – for counselling and other support services

Helping Spirit Lodge Society – for programs, services and resources

Vancouver Native Health Society – counselling

Warriors Against Violence Society – for counselling and support services