People gathered at the Peace Arch monument Saturday (June 5, 2021) for an international vigil, after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

People gathered at the Peace Arch monument Saturday (June 5, 2021) for an international vigil, after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Cross-border gathering at Surrey’s Peace Arch Park honours 215 Indigenous children

International mourning ceremony hosted by Lummi, Southern First Nations

Editor’s note: This article contains details about experiences at residential schools in B.C. and may be triggering to readers.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is offering toll-free 24-hour telephone support for survivors and their families at 1 (866) 925-4419. The KUU-US Crisis Line Society’s 24-hour line is available at 1-800-588-8717.

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A cross-border ceremony honoured the lives of 215 Indigenous children who lost their lives at a former Kamloops residential school.

On Saturday (June 5), First Nations communities from both sides of the Canada-U.S. border met by the Peace Arch monument in honour of the children a week after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops.

The event was organized in part by the Lummi and South First Nations from the U.S.

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Lummi Nation chairman Lawrence Solomon during an international vigil at Peace Arch Park Saturday (June 5, 2021), after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

“Today, we’re coming together, the tribes, the families are coming together to show our love and support to our friends and relatives in Kamloops,” said Lawrence Solomon, the chairman of the Lummi Nation.

“The boarding schools, the residential schools tried their best to … the policy they used to call it, it to ‘kill the Indian, save the man.’ We’re still here today practising our culture. As you can see today, it’s pretty strong.”

Solomon said he could “feel the spirit” of those children with them on Saturday.

“I think a lot of people today, they’re learning what actually took place in these residential schools. Our late hereditary chief would say that the residential school students, boarding school students, you need to tell the children what happened and what took place at those schools so we can feel and move forward.”

Saturday’s vigil followed two separate events at Surrey City Hall on Friday.

READ ALSO: Candlelight vigil in Surrey honours 215 Indigenous children, June 5, 2021

READ ALSO: Hundreds turn out in Surrey in honour of 215 Indigenous children, June 4, 2021



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

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People gathered at the Peace Arch monument Saturday (June 5, 2021) for an international vigil, after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

People gathered at the Peace Arch monument Saturday (June 5, 2021) for an international vigil, after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation confirmed there were remains of at least 215 Indigenous children at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops. (Photo: Lauren Collins)