Statement from BC Hydro’s President and CEO and Chair of the Board
The burial site found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School refocused us all on the impacts the residential school system has had, and continues to have, on Indigenous peoples in our country. As the existence of further burial sites at former residential schools are being brought to light across B.C. and the rest of Canada, there are truly no words to express how devastating this news is, especially to Indigenous peoples.
The loss of any child – especially those taken from their homes under the circumstances of the residential schools – is simply horrific. The work being done at former residential school sites across the province and country is a stark reminder of the many young Indigenous lives lost in the residential school system and the past we all share as Canadians, but which is profoundly felt and lived by Indigenous peoples in Canada. We send our condolences to Indigenous communities across British Columbia and Canada for the tragic loss of their children.
As with flags at federal and provincial buildings across the country, we lowered flags at our Dunsmuir head office in Vancouver to half-mast with the discovery at the former Kamloops residential school. They will remain lowered through September 30, which is Orange Shirt Day – a day to honour the experiences, memories and spiritual and cultural resiliency of survivors and former students of Canada’s residential school system. This is a small gesture, but hopefully an important one, to demonstrate that BC Hydro supports Indigenous communities in this time.
As a company, we recognize that maintaining and developing our infrastructure has had and will continue to have impacts on the lives and interests of Indigenous peoples. To support our move towards true and lasting reconciliation, we want to again acknowledge our past mistakes as a company and reiterate our commitment to listening to Indigenous perspectives and seeking shared understanding with Indigenous Nations, communities and governments. None of that work can take place without acknowledging the past, and the findings at the former residential schools have re-centred us all on how and why we must do better going forward.
We all have a role to play in reconciliation and want to confirm that we will do our best to ensure we are approaching it in a way that drives real, measurable change both within and outside of our company.
Chair of the Board, BC Hydro
President and CEO, BC Hydro