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President's message: The painful legacy of residential schools

Posted on January 31, 2022

VCC president

Dear VCC community, 

As you have likely heard, on Tuesday, Jan. 25, the Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) announced the preliminary findings of 93 potential burial sites at the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School in Williams Lake B.C. 

The harrowing stories of Indigenous children’s experiences at St. Joseph’s Mission, as recounted by WLFN Kukpi7/Chief Willie Sellars, are a reminder of the painful legacy residential schools have left on Indigenous communities and families all across Canada. Their stories stand as a reminder that work towards Truth and Reconciliation requires care and consistent attention.

On behalf of Vancouver Community College (VCC), we extend our sincerest condolences to WLFN and Indigenous peoples across Canada who have been impacted by these devastating events. We offer our support to those whose long road to healing has only just begun.

We also would like to take this moment to recognize the survivors and families from the Nations who attended the Mission, which included Secwépemc (Shuswap), Tsilhqot’in (Chilcotin), St’at’imc (Lillooet), Dakelh (Southern Carrier), and Nuxalk (Bella Coola).

At VCC, our responsibility is to listen, learn, and be engaged in dialogue about the past and how we can take part in building a more equitable future for our Indigenous communities. As Chief Sellers said, “reconciliation is education". VCC is committed to providing an environment that supports decolonization, equity, diversity, and inclusion in all areas of our college.


Ajay Patel
President and CEO
Vancouver Community College


 Supports are in place for individuals who are in distress or who have been affected by residential schools:

Forore information on the St. Joseph’s Mission Residential School preliminary findings, read this story from the CBC: