Teddy bears, shoes, candles and notes were left in honour of the victims. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Teddy bears, shoes, candles and notes were left in honour of the victims. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Summerland vigil paid tribute to 215 Indigenous children buried in Kamloops

Event included moment of silence for victims of Kamloops Residential School

A vigil in Summerland last Friday evening was held to honour and mourn the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops.

The vigil, at the Voice of Mother Earth sculpture on Wharton Street, included a moment of silence for the children, as well as readings and poems from some of those attending. Information sheets about Canada’s residential school system were displayed around the site.

Those attending the vigil left shoes, stuffed animals, candles and notes around the sculpture in honour of the children.

Kayla MacGillivray, organizer of the event, said she hoped the event would help bring about long-lasting changes in Canada.

“We need to have a space to grieve and also a space to reflect,” she said.

READ ALSO: Remains of 215 children found at former residential school in Kamloops

READ ALSO: Summerland flags at half mast following discovery at Kamloops Residential School

MacGillivray explained that many in Canada have limited knowledge about the residential schools that were set up for Indigenous children. The schools were in place from the 19th century until 1996 and were operated across Canada.

The Kamloops residential school, once the largest residential school in Canada, operated as a Catholic residential school from 1890 until 1969.

While residential schools were administered by churches, the system was funded by the federal Department of Indian Affairs.

She hopes people will talk about issues surrounding Canada’s history of residential schools. “Use your privilege and use your voice,” she said.

Donations to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society were collected at the event.

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Participants at the vigil paused for two minutes, 15 seconds of silence. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

Participants at the vigil paused for two minutes, 15 seconds of silence. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)

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