By Dianne Sonnenberg, AKA Board Member & International (First Nations) Adoptee
Headline: Remains of 215 children found buried at former B.C. residential school, First Nation says. Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc say ground-penetrating radar was used to locate remains: Posted May 28, 2021; CBC News
As an adoptee and member of a First Nations community, I grieve for these children and their families, and for all of the lives lost and traumatized in the Residential and Boarding Schools in both Canada and the US.
These schools were created to remove Indigenous children from their own culture and assimilate them into the European-Canadian-American way of life. There were hundreds of these schools across the US and Canada. Tens of thousands of native children were taken from their homes, usually against the will of their families. Incredibly, the last one closed in 1996.
The loss of family and culture has caused unspeakable damage for these individuals, as well as their relatives. Intergenerational trauma will be felt for years to come. As adoptees, we have a deep understanding of the challenges they endure, as many of us have experienced much of this pain firsthand. The value of striving to heal these wounds cannot be overstated. It is the first step toward peace, healing, and reconciliation.
Dianne Sonnenberg serves on the AKA Board of Directors. She is an international (First Nations) adoptee who has been active in the AKA community for several years, after reuniting with her biological family. She is an artist, and also serves on the boards of the Austin Mosaic Guild and the Texas Society of Sculptors.