The 215

The 215

We mourn the loss of life, culture, ceremony, and language amongst the original peoples of this land. 

The discovery of the mass burial ground of 215 children at the residential school in Kamloops, home of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, is a horrific addition to the proof of genocide by church and crown, and the ongoing violence suffered by Indigenous peoples due to the legacies of colonization. We know survivors have testified to many more injustices that are not yet on record.

We must work harder to reverse systemic racism against Indigenous peoples and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action for a better future for all who make this land their home.

Our commitment at Calgary Arts Development is to build good relations with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) based on mutual respect, to listen deeply, and to dedicate intentional funding for FNMI art and artists. We will do this through all of our grant investment programs including the Indigenous-led Original Peoples Investment Program.

In addition to our ongoing granting programs, we have designated up to $75,000 of our ArtShare Program funds specifically for Indigenous artists or Indigenous arts organizations who live and work on Treaty 7 territory, to support artistic projects responding to, honouring, or in memory of the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. To find out more about how to apply for funds, please contact Sable Sweetgrass, Specialist for Indigenous Programs, at

Additional resources we have used to learn about the history of residential schools in Canada, and our responsibilities, include Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, an interactive map of residential schools in Canada, Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, The City of Calgary’s White Goose Flying Report, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action specifically #83, and #71-76, and Calgary Foundation’s Indigenous Ally Toolkit.

A 24-hour National Indian Residential School Crisis Line offering support services and crisis referrals is available at 1.866.925.4419 for former residential school students and their families.

On behalf of Calgary Arts Development,

Patti Pon
President & CEO

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