An onlooker stands at the foot of the B.C. legislature steps, where numerous shoes, stuffed animals and candles paid homage to 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found buried at the site of a residential school in Kamloops. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

An onlooker stands at the foot of the B.C. legislature steps, where numerous shoes, stuffed animals and candles paid homage to 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found buried at the site of a residential school in Kamloops. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

B.C. Legislative Assembly apologizes for removing memorial for the unmarked 215

Shoes, stuffies, candles taken from legislative steps after vigil for children in unmarked graves

The B.C. Legislature has issued an apology after a display honouring the 215 Indigenous children found in an unmarked, mass grave was removed from its steps without warning.

The display, featuring shoes, stuffed animals, and candles, was set up Friday evening (May 28) as a number of people gathered on the front steps to express their grief.

Later that night, after everyone had left, security officers extinguished the candles and collected the mementos, according to a statement from the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The items were picked up on Saturday by one of the event’s organizers.

“Compassion and sensitivity should have been exercised with the memorial items remaining in place. The Legislative Assembly offers its sincere apologies for the hurt this has caused,” reads the statement.

More memorial items have since been placed on the steps and will not be disturbed during this time of mourning.

Last week, the chief of the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced that the remains of 215 children had been found buried on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. Chief Rosanne Casimir said the children, some as young as three, were students at the school, which was once the largest in Canada’s residential school system.

Kamloops Indian Residential School operated between 1890 and 1969. The federal government took over operation from the Catholic Church to operate it as a day school until it closed in 1978.

— with a file from Canadian Press

ALSO READ: Victoria vigil honours Indigenous children buried at Kamloops residential school

ALSO READ: Gitksan grandmother says Canadians need to face the whole truth about residential schools


 

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