For immediate release
June 1, 2021
Every Child Matters
Cranbrook, B.C. – Just a few days after elders from the Ktunaxa Nation blessed the St. Eugene Resort, as it re-opened for the summer season, it was announced that the remains of 215 Indigenous children had been found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. That news has brought back painful memories. The present-day resort was originally constructed and operated as the Kootenay Indian Residential School for 60 years before it was closed in 1970. Today, the Resort is owned and operated by the four Indian Bands of the Ktunaxa Nation and the Shuswap Indian Band.
Nation members along with many staff members held a ceremony at the resort on Friday after the tragic discovery and this week staff are wearing orange shirts in memory of all residential school children.
Sophie Pierre, Chair of the Board of St. Eugene Resort, recalls that it was the words of Ktunaxa Elder Mary Paul, a visionary for the resort, saying: “Since it was within the St. Eugene Mission School that the culture of the Kootenay Indian was taken away, it should be within that building that it is returned” that guided the creation of the resort. Her words continue to guide us today.
We encourage all Canadians to become fully informed on the true history of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous People, including the very sad truth regarding residential schools.
“We are honoured to tell the story of so many who did not have that opportunity,” said Sandra van Steijn, CEO of St. Eugene Resort. “We do not want to erase our past but learn from it and keep St. Eugene a safe place to learn, grow and heal,” she added.