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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to visit Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc in B.C. next week

Trip follows not responding to invitations to visit on National Day for Truth and Reconcilation
A message is seen on the window of the Sk’elep School of Excellence as the Canadian, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and B.C. flags are reflected in the window flying at half mast to honour the 215 children whose remains have been discovered buried near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, in Kamloops, B.C., on Saturday, June 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation in British Columbia says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will visit next Monday.

The Oct. 18 trip follows his apology to Chief Rosanne Casimir for not having responded to invitations to visit on Sept. 30, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Trudeau faced backlash for travelling to Tofino, B.C., on that day to spend some time with his family instead of appearing at any in-person events to honour residential school survivors.

He had attended an event on Parliament Hill the night before, and spoke to some residential school survivors by telephone on the actual day, but Trudeau said it was a “mistake” to travel.

The First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., announced in May that ground-penetrating radar had detected what are believed to be the remains of 215 Indigenous children in unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school.

Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan revealed a similar finding of more than 700 unmarked graves a month later, as many across the country expressed grief and anger at the news.

Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc has said it’s not interested in apologies that don’t lead to real change, and called on the federal government to provide funding to help survivors and their families heal from the trauma caused by the residential school system.

“We require funding for a Tk’emlúps healing centre to support survivors and intergenerational survivors,” the First Nation said in an earlier statement.

Trudeau is expected to deliver remarks at Monday’s event, along with Casimir and Assembly of First Nations National Chief RoseAnne Archibald.

—Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

RELATED: Trudeau apologizes to Tk’emlúps chief for not attending truth and reconciliation ceremony