Indian Residential School Survivors Society
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) is a provincial organization with a twenty-year history of providing services to Indian Residential School Survivors.
The Indian Residential School Survivors Society began in 1994 as a working committee of the First Nations Summit. They were known as the Residential School Project, housed out of and as a part of the BC First Nations Summit. Their work was primarily to assist Survivors with the litigation process pertaining to Residential School abuses. In more recent years their work has expanded to include assisting the descendants of Survivors and implementing Community education measures (Indigenous & Non-Indigenous).
As of March 2002, they formally became the Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS). The IRSSS is governed by an elected Board of Directors from six regions of BC; the Board of Directors are also Survivors or Intergenerational Survivors of Residential Schools. The Board of Directors is responsible for the funding of the organization and delegates its day-to-day duties to the Executive Director. The Executive Director is hired by the Board of Directors and hold full responsibility for the implementation of Board initiatives and policies and hiring staff. The board is supported by a staff of 20 professionals and 16 Elders who provide Cultural Support, most of whom are either Indian Residential School Survivors or Intergenerational Survivors.
IRSSS provides essential services to Residential School Survivors, their families, and those dealing with Intergenerational traumas. These impacts affect every family and every community across B.C. and Canada. This fact is most evident in the Corrections Canada Services-the numbers of First Nations people incarcerated, Child and Family Services child apprehensions, the high number of people on social assistance, unemployment and underemployed, lower levels of education, the lowest number within an ethnic minority of “determinants of health”, the list of impacts is extremely high while the services available to effectively assist impacts of Residential Schools remain quite low.
One of the Society’s goals is to continually expand support to partner organizations and maximize access to culturally sensitive, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual care.