Skip to main content

Below is Prayer of Confession written in response to the unmarked graves found near the Kamloops Indian Residential School. These graves contained the undocumented remains of  215 children who were forcibly removed from their families and communities and relocated to the residential school. The school was part of a government plan and operated by the Catholic church. Christians of various kinds operated residential schools like this across Canada. Unmarked graves such as these are likely at many residential schools across Canada.  
Feel free to use this prayer as you see fit, including making edits and additions.
Mike Vander Laan,
Co-Pastor, Sahali Fellowship - Kamloops, BC


God of All People,

We mourn the unthinkable loss of life and the pain that the discovery of 215 remains of children at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School represents.

Lord, help us to admit the truth. Children were forcibly removed from their families. The laughter of children was stolen from their communities. Thousands upon thousands of children never returned home. Many died separated from their families and buried far from their land. Communities were abused and permanently scarred.

We recognize that much of this was done by those who bear your name, Lord, who called themselves Christians. These atrocities were done by people like us. They profaned your name by claiming these actions were your will.

We confess, Lord, that we closed our eyes and hardened our hearts to these truths. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission noted that large numbers of Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools never returned to their home communities and became “Missing Children.” We’ve seen the pain in faces. Yet we haven’t listened to the pain of scarred families and abused communities. We haven’t opened our hearts to feel their pain. We haven’t sought forgiveness. We have not worked for healing.

Lord, forgive us.

Lord, we pray for your Spirit to help us seek healing and reconciliation both for ourselves and for others. Give comfort to all who mourn, openness to face and feel the pain, freedom through forgiveness, and strength for the work of righting wrongs.

In the Name of Jesus, Lord of the Nations, we pray. Amen.   


Thanks Mike. It's been a hard week and likely very hard for you and others living in Kamloops. We will use this prayer in our bulletin and likely as part of our worship service.

Thank you Mike.  The Canadian Indigenous Ministries Committee also worked on a prayer that was posted right around the same time as yours (great minds think alike).  You can find it here

Despite the media attention, there have been no graves discovered. It is ground penetrating radar that has discerned disturbance in the spoil. No bodies or hard evidence is yet forthcoming. This is not denial that there are such, simply that they have yet to be confirmed. Add to this the fact, as mentioned in a recent letter in the Anglican, that unraked graces were not uncommon, even for Europeans. Then for a real kicker, why is it not mentioned that the Kamloops school was actually founded by Shuswap Chief Louis Clexlixqen? Likely because it does not fit the present narrative.

If we understand God to be a God of truth, ought we to pursue truth and not be caught up in the rhetoric of the day?

Then let me push everyone even further. If this whole reconciliation movement is to be anything but look good and feel good on the part of the church, should we not take the time and make the effort to actually engage "indigenous" peoples in honest conversation? How many of us have actually been on a reservation, had a discussion with a tribal member, sought to understand both their perspective and the European settler perspective and honestly seek reconciliation? Few, I expect.  

Let's Discuss

We love your comments! Thank you for helping us uphold the Community Guidelines to make this an encouraging and respectful community for everyone.

Login or Register to Comment

We want to hear from you.

Connect to The Network and add your own question, blog, resource, or job.

Add Your Post