Thompson Rivers University

Sharing in sorrow and truth

May 28, 2021

A message from TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Brett Fairbairn

Dear students, staff and faculty,

I write to you in respect and honour to our region’s first peoples, who at this time are dealing with the incomprehensible.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc discovered the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. They are now going through the difficult but honouring process of helping to bring healing and closure to the families and communities of missing students from the residential school era.

As a university connected with the region’s Indigenous communities, including a strong partnership with Tk’emlúps, we have sent our heartfelt thoughts and offers of support.

And as a university that strongly believes in the need for truth and reconciliation—a commitment made in our strategic goals and increasingly in our actions—we share in this uncomfortable truth and in this horrific loss of children.

Within our university community, many are grieving as a result of this discovery. Please connect with those around you for support.

Resources available to students:

Resources available to faculty and staff:

  • Counsellor support through LifeWorks EFAP: call 1-877-207-8833
  • Email Campus Wellness Advisor Joy Demsey or call 250-828-5344 if you need further support

Other services include:

Plans are also underway to organize a virtual healing circle and we’ll share the details once confirmed.

I leave this one thought with you. Our university’s vision calls us to be a place of belonging, as inspired by the Secwepemctsín word Kw’seltktnéws. Its meaning: we are all related and interconnected with nature, each other, and all things. From this inter-connectedness, let us share in the discovery of the hard truths of the past, of the harm caused by colonialism, and commit to healing and reconciliation for the future.


Brett Fairbairn
President and Vice-Chancellor

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