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Ceremony: bringing truth to atrocities of Indian Residential Schools

Tuesday June 8, 2021 | VICTORIA, BC [Updated June 13, 2021]

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends


“As we pay our respects, we stand with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and Indigenous peoples committed to bringing full truth to the atrocities of residential schools, and continuing on the path of reconciliation, together.”

That was a Tweet today by Premier John Horgan after a ceremony under bright blue skies this afternoon on the steps of BC Legislative Building.

Premier John Horgan, Twitter
Premier John Horgan posted on Twitter about the ceremony outside the BC Parliament Building recognizing the atrocities at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The solemn but forward-looking recognition event was of course in response to the discovery of the remains of 215 children on the grounds of the formerly-active Kamloops Indian Residential School which is located in the BC Interior region.

There were 215 pairs of shoes on the steps of the iconic building, as flags were restored from 215 hours (over nine days) at half-mast.

The discovery of the remains using ground-penetrating sonar has rocked the emotions of Canadians across the country since the discovery was first announced on May 27, 2021.

Horgan also posted on Twitter today: “Thank you to the Songhees, Esquimalt and many other island First Nations for bringing us together today to witness the powerful ceremony honouring Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families.”

On May 28 the premier issued a statement saying he was “horrified and heartbroken”. | Full May 28, 2021 statement by Premier John Horgan about the discovery at Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Dr Bonnie Henry, May 31 2021
Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry delivered powerful thoughts and a call to action for Indigenous peoples in response to recent news of 215 children’s bodies found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School [Victoria – May 31, 2021]

Last week BC’s top doctor offered powerful words on Indigenous healing & reconciliation. “This is something we did to First Nations children and families, we are all implicated in these tragedies,” said Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry.

During Dr Henry’s far-reaching remarks that she packed into about three and-a-half minutes, Dr Henry further implored British Columbians to “not get stuck in our shame and grief” but to take action going forward.

“In order to honour the strength and resilience of survivors and descendants of Indian Residential Schools, and the memories of all those who never returned home, each and every one of us needs to ask ourselves: ‘What meaningful actions can we take to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples?’,” said Dr Henry. | Full transcript of Dr Henry’s May 31, 2021 message about the Kamloops Indian Residential School discovery.


Here are some of the photos as posted on the John Horgan government Twitter feed after the June 8 ceremony in Victoria in front of the BC Parliament Buildings.

Kamloops, 215
Remembering 215 children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, during a ceremony on the steps of the BC Legislature on June 8, 2021. [BC Government]
kamloops, 215
Remembering 215 children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, during a ceremony on the steps of the BC Legislature on June 8, 2021. [BC Government]
Sooke Fine Arts Show, 2021
The 2021 Sooke Fine Arts Show runs July 23 through August 2 online.