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Expression of Commitment Archdiocese of Vancouver

June 2, 2021

Dear First Nations governments and all Indigenous communities, families and
citizens,

In light of the heartbreaking disclosure of the remains of 215 children at the
former Kamloops Indian Residential School, I am writing to express my deep apology
and profound condolences to the families and communities that have been devastated
by this horrific news. Each time new evidence of a tragedy is revealed, or another
victim comes forward, countless wounds are reopened, and I know that you
experience renewed suffering.

I take this opportunity to reflect upon the apology I gave publicly before the
Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2013, words to which I remain committed
and accountable: “I wish to apologize sincerely and profoundly to the survivors and
their families, as well as to all those subsequently affected, for the anguish caused by
the deplorable conduct of those Catholics who perpetrated mistreatment of any kind
in these residential schools.” The Church was unquestionably wrong in implementing
a government colonialist policy which resulted in devastation for children, families and
communities.

If words of apology for such unspeakable deeds are to bring life and healing,
they must be accompanied by tangible actions that foster the full disclosure of the
truth. Truth comes before reconciliation. On behalf of the people of the Archdiocese
of Vancouver, I commit to the following first steps in support of the Nations, families
and communities impacted by the recent heartrending disclosure:

1. We will be fully transparent with our archives and records regarding all
residential schools, and strongly urge all other Catholic and government
organizations to do the same. Our records regarding the Kamloops Indian
Residential School (Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc) were provided to the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission and will remain available for review.

2. We will offer and support mental health support and counselling for family
members and others whose loved ones may be buried on the site of the former
Kamloops Indian Residential School.

3. We will offer to assist with technological and professional support to help the
Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and other affected Nations in whatever way they
choose to honour, retrieve and remember their deceased children.

4. We commit to supporting the same process and resources to all Nations in
whose territories Catholic-run residential schools were forcibly located, and
which fall within the historical boundaries of the Archdiocese of Vancouver.

5. We will renew our efforts to listen to Indigenous Peoples to hear from you how
we can best walk with you along the path of justice.

We recognize that there is so much work remains to be done, yet we hope that,
if we persevere in these commitments with humility, we can restore the trust among us
that will bring healing.
Sincerely yours,

J. Michael Miller, CSB
Archbishop of Vancouver