Flags are at half-mast, a vigil is being planned and students have been encouraged to wear orange shirts all this week, following the discovery of the bodies of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops.
Elders in Mission are meeting today (Monday, May 31) to plan a vigil, according to the Mission Friendship Centre Society’s Facebook page.
According to the post, they want the vigil to take place at Fraser River Heritage Park – where parts of the St. Mary’s Residential School once stood – and they also plan to arrange a healing circle, for those impacted, in the near future.
Details are pending.
All schools in the Mission School District are holding a moment of silence today at 2:15 p.m., have placed their flags at half-mast and are encouraging teachers and students to wear orange.
“The terrible news from last week at the site of a former residential school near Kamloops is horrific as well as deeply emotional for many in our community and across Canada,” said school superintendent Angus Wilson, in an email to parents.
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“Canada’s past injustices and treatment of Indigenous children and families is a stark and ongoing reminder that we must continue to seek and share the truth before any real reconciliation is possible.”
Mission Mayor Paul Horn said the flags being hung at half-mast is “a beginning.”
“That’s just a symbolic gesture. I think we really owe it to our local First Nations neighbours to reach out to them and get their input on how we want to proceed,” said Horn.
He said a lot of people are processing at the moment and for some it is a traumatic time.
“It’s just further evidence of something we have known for a long time, which is that we have a history of being very cruel to certain parts of our population and treating Indigenous People with indignity,” said Horn, adding it is something that we have been slow to realize.
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