The Delta School District held a ceremony at the school board office in Ladner Tuesday morning (June 1) to honour the 215 children found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops and all those impacted by the residential school system. Attendees hung 215 orange hearts on cedar trees planted this spring as part of the district’s Giving Tree Project, and placed children’s shoes around the central tree. (Delta School District photo)

The Delta School District held a ceremony at the school board office in Ladner Tuesday morning (June 1) to honour the 215 children found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops and all those impacted by the residential school system. Attendees hung 215 orange hearts on cedar trees planted this spring as part of the district’s Giving Tree Project, and placed children’s shoes around the central tree. (Delta School District photo)

Delta School District honours residential school victims

215 orange hearts were hung on cedar trees, with children’s shoes placed around the central tree

The Delta School District held a ceremony at the school board office in Ladner Tuesday morning to honour the 215 children found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops and all those impacted by the residential school system.

Knowledge Keeper Rose Geurin and members of the district’s Indigenous Education Department took part in a small, socially-distanced ceremony on June 1, hanging 215 orange hearts on cedar trees planted this spring as part of the district’s Giving Tree Project.

As well, attendees placed children’s shoes around the central cedar tree and Nathan Wilson, the district’s Indigenous cultural enhancement facilitator, led a group in drumming 215 beats, one for each child whose remains were found on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“As we continue to learn the truth of our shared Canadian history, we felt it was important to have an event that would help us absorb what has just been revealed as well as help us all on the long hard journey towards reconciliation. The new curriculum is allowing this generation to learn about residential schools. There is still much work to do in educating the public. We are thinking about all the Indigenous families and the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc people at this time,” Diane Jubinville, district vice-principal – Indigenous education, said in a press release.

“For the next few weeks, we invite members of the community to add children’s shoes to the circle to commemorate the lives lost and to show respect to all those families whose lives were forever changed by the Indian residential school system.”

District staff are also being encouraged to wear orange this week and the district is encouraging community members to do the same.

RELATED: Flags across Delta at half-mast to honour victims of Kamloops residential school

On Monday, the district lowered flags at all schools and district sites to honour the lives of those 215 children, as well as in memory of the thousands of children who were sent to residential schools and the families whose lives were forever changed by the residential school system.

”As a district, we find the news of the discovery of the remains of 215 children buried at the site of the former residential school in Kamloops utterly devastating, and recognize that this tragedy is far reaching, causing a wide range of difficult emotions for all of us. In particular, we raise our hands in respect to the Indigenous members of our community. Our hearts go out to the families and to all community members impacted by this news,” school board chair Val Windsor and district superintendent Doug Sheppard said in a joint statement issued Monday (May 31).

“While the recent discovery of the remains of the children in Kamloops is horrific, sadly it will not come as a surprise to those who are familiar with the atrocities of the residential school system. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada highlighted the experiences and stories from residential school survivors and the colonial impacts on Indigenous peoples across their homeland. As a country, it is important to realize that we need to continue to seek and share the truth of our shared Canadian history before any reconciliation can be achieved.

“As a district, we remain committed to the truth and reconciliation journey, and will continue to work with local Indigenous peoples, colleagues and communities across the province to ensure students and educators understand the broader story of residential schools in Canada and our colonial past.”

Noting June is National Indigenous History Month and June 21 is National Indigenous Peoples Day, the district says staff and students will have the opportunity this month to honour and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures and outstanding contributions of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people.

As well, every week in June, the district’s Indigenous Education Department will be providing teaching resources and videos to all schools, including interviews with Indigenous role models to hear their stories.

“This is important learning for all of us,” Windsor and Sheppard said in their statement.

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.

RELATED: Time to account for all child deaths at Canada’s residential schools: Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

SEE ALSO: U.N. seeks full probe into death of Indigenous students at residential schools

SEE ALSO: Canada holds special debate on remains of 215 children found at residential school



editor@northdeltareporter.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

DeltaIndigenous reconcilliationresidential schoolsSchools

Just Posted

People were lined up around the fields at a drop-in vaccine clinic at Newton Athletic Park on Tuesday (April 27, 2021), which is one of the high-transmission neighbourhoods that are being given vaccine priority. This clinic was one of at least three to open in the city on Tuesday. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s weekly cases continue to drop, push for 80% vaccination rate citywide

BCCDC reports 263 cases for Surrey the week of May 30 to June 5

Fleetwood Park Secondary School’s 2021 commencement ceremonies were held over the course of two days, June 10 and 11. Grads went through a small, distanced ceremony in groups of four, with up to four members of the grad’s household. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey’s 2021 grads find creative ways to celebrate in another year of COVID-19

This year’s Grade 12 students were unable to have any large-scale events

Friends of Bear Creek Park held a ‘yellow-ribbon event’ on Saturday (June 12, 2021), with protesters at 84th Avenue and King George Boulevard and 84th Avenue and 140th Street. People were asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard “to celebrate and to show support for our trees in Bear Creek Park.” (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Protesters hold ‘yellow-ribbon’ event at Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

People asked to tie a yellow ribbon in their yard to ‘show support for our trees’

All nine White Rock Renegades softball teams are set to take part in the Canadian Pride and Power Tournament, scheduled for July 1-4. (Aaron Hinks photo)
White Rock Renegades set to host multi-team Pride and Power softball tournament

‘There’s going to be a lot of excitement in the park,’ said Greg Timm

The Lower Mainland Green Team and students from Earl Marriott Secondary remove invasive plants from White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park. (Contributed photo)
Green Team returns to White Rock’s Ruth Johnson Park to monitor previous work

Environmental volunteers, South Surrey students remove invasive species

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Most Read