A vigil will be held in Summerland on Friday, June 4, to honour and mourn the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops.
The vigil will be held at the Voice of Mother Earth sculpture on Wharton Street near Prairie Valley Road from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., with a moment of silence to be held at 8:15 p.m.
Kayla MacGillivray, organizer of the event, hopes it will result in long-lasting changes in Canada.
“We need to have a space to grieve and also a space to reflect,” she said.
She added that it is important to take time to learn about the history of residential schools in Canada and to consider what happened at these schools.
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.
Those attending are asked to place a poem, children’s shoes, a teddy bear, a piece of art, a commitment to change or another item. Donations to the Indian Residential Schools Survivors Society are also encouraged.
There will be readings of poetry and children’s books about the residential school system throughout the evening.
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