Londoners mourn B.C. residential school victims – London

Local memorials and tributes continue to grow as Londoners remember the 215 unidentified children found at the site of a former residential school in British Columbia.

More than 150 people gathered at St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica on Sunday and laid pairs of children’s shoes on the steps as a memorial to the lives lost.

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc confirmed last week that it found the remains of 215 children buried on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Yeyatalunyuhe George, Idle No More London organizer, says the tragedy has opened old wounds.

Read more:
First Nation in Kamloops, B.C., confirms bodies of 215 children buried at former residential school site

“This is what we live through every single day. I don’t think that people have the right to tell us to get over it, or that we are being victims,” George said.

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“We don’t want people to feel sorry for us. We just want that part of history told and taught in schools. We want our truth opened.”

According to Terry Teegee, Assembly of First Nations regional chief in B.C., plans are being made to identify and return home the remains of the children discovered at the former residential school site.

Read more:
‘Tip of the iceberg.’ Experts say more burial sites, like at B.C. residential school, could be found

“My heart hurts because we are still trying to pick ourselves back up, unlearn what our parents learned from their grandparents or parents, and live our lives in a normal way, learning how to love our children, and how to express that love to them,” George said.

George said the tragedy has her reflecting on her own family and what her relatives before her experienced.

“When I think about my own children, my mind goes back to when my parents and grandparents were little, what that must have been like for them to have their babies taken from them and placed in these schools.”

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London city hall, as well as the city’s fire stations and police headquarters, have lowered their flags to half-mast to honour the young victims.

The Thames Valley District School Board released a statement saying that flags at all of their schools will be lowered for a total of nine days, or 215 hours.

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