On Sunday evening vigil, hundreds of people gathered at Albertan Legislature, mourning 215 children who died in residential schools. The event was held two days after the announcement of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation children bodies buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, B.C.
Anita Cardinal Stewart, the event organizer, said that there were about 300 people in attendance. He added that it was a grieving moment for the survivors and families.
“Today, Albertans of all backgrounds stood in unity and solidarity to remember and to honor those 215 and all the children who perished as a result of attending a residential school. We will never forget and Canada must tell the truth.”
The participant marked 215 seconds of silence in memory of the children, and throughout the day, children’s shoes were left at the monument to Catholic nuns near the legislature grounds.
The Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation released a statement, noting that children as young a three years died undocumented. Flags all of Canada flew half-mast including, in Albertan Legislature Building.
The Chiefs of the Confederacy of the Six First Nations released a statement noting the traumatic experience from the residential school system will taking time to heal. The worst part is that families were denied the right to grieve in their customary burial practices.
“The children were denied their last moments away from families who loved and cherished them. The families were denied the right to grieve and follow through with customary burial practices.”