A march has been planned for Mission in remembrance of the 215 Indigenous children recently discovered at the site of the former residential school in Kamloops.
The event will start at Fraser River Heritage Park at around 11 a.m. on Saturday (June 5) and begin with welcome speeches from organizers. The march will begin 45 minutes later and finish at St. Mary’s Church with a ceremony.
“The goal is to have elders speak,” said Andrew Martin, one of the organizers. “The approach to all of this is not hardline or hateful … But more for forgiveness, and finding the children.”
The event has been organized by the Crazy Indian Brotherhood BC, with the support of the Fallen Feathers Foundation. The organizers also held a rally in Abbotsford’s Jubilee Park on June 1, which was attended by 300 to 400 people, Martin said..
“We were not expecting that turnout,” he said. “It was a gorgeous ceremony. There were drum circles most of the evening, they had a couple children dance to the drum songs (as they) marched through.”
Four elders spoke at yesterday’s events, and 215 candles were lit.
The groups are attempting to lobby the government to conduct investigations with ground-penetrating radar on the grounds of every one of Canada’s 137 former residential schools.
“We are working on a petition to have residential school grounds searched with ground penetrating radar. As of this moment I’m not sure if we are going to only include St. Mary’s within this petition, the approximately 22 in BC or all 139 across Canada. I have reached out to the Mayor of Mission with the hopes of getting city support for the event.”
Water, coffee and light snacks will be provided at both ends of the march, and rides will be provided to anyone unable to make the walk.