Penelakut Residential School Statement


This message contains sensitive content and could be triggering. For crisis support here in BC please contact the KUU-US Crisis Line at 1-800-588-8717 or visit Mental Health and Wellness Sup​port page for additional support services. ​​


Image via Library and Archives Canada

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) has received news of yet another discovery of unmarked graves near the grounds of a former residential school site in British Columbia. Penelakut Tribe Chief Joan Brown has confirmed the finding of “undocumented and unmarked" graves of more than 160 people located on Penelakut Island, formerly known as Kuper Island, near Chemainus on the southeast coast of Vancouver Island.

The FNHA stands with the Penelakut Tribe, the people and communities whose members attended this residential school and all other BC First Nations as they struggle to cope with the ongoing series of discoveries. The FNHA understands the impact that these events have on residential school survivors, their families, and First Nations communities. Ongoing effects of intergenerational trauma on the health and wellbeing of First Nations people are significant.

The FNHA is calling on our partners and health agencies to collaborate and to mobilize critical resources to support people in the Penelakut community and surrounding area. Some of the immediate supports currently available include the KUU-US Crisis Line, Tsow-Tun-Le-Lum Society and the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society. Contact information for these services is located on the FNHA website. Other services including mental health counselling and cultural supports are also available.

Richard Jock, CEO First Nations Health Authority

Cultural supports:

KUU-US Crisis Line Society: a 24-hour provincial Indigenous crisis line. Adults call 250-723-4050; children and youth call 250-723-2040. Toll-free 1-800-588-8717.

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Help Line: Phone toll-free 1-855-242-3310 or chat online at hopeforw

The Métis Crisis Line: available 24 hours a day at 1-833-Métis BC, 1-833-638-4722.

Tsow Tun Le Lum: Phone 1-888-403-3123 to access the following cultural supports: Levi Martin, James Quatell or Mike Kelly.

Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS): Phone 1-800-721-0066 or 604-985-4464 to access the following cultural supports:  Sadie McPhee, Gertie Pierre or Yvonne Rigby Jones. Mental health and counselling services are also available from the IRSSS Resolution Health Support Workers.​

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