The Quesnel School District board is asking members of the community to join in acknowledging and mourning the 215 children discovered buried in a mass grave at a former Kamloops residential school.
Flags at all district sites will be lowered to half-mast for 215 hours to memorialize each child lost. On Tuesday, June 1, the district is asking all staff and students to wear orange to remember all students who were taken to residential schools and those who never returned home.
“We offer our condolences and support to the Indigenous community. We commit to listening, learning and taking action in support of Truth and Reconciliation,” a news release from the district reads.
The Quesnel Friendship Centre will also be honouring the lives lost. The centre has set up 215 candles alongside a memorial space.
“Anyone may come in the hall, light a candle, say a prayer and add to the memorial space,” executive director of the Quesnel Tillicum Society and school board chairperson Tony Goulet said in an email. “There will be no speeches or gatherings just a respectful way to remember, community is welcome. This is just in the works and will begin after 1 p.m. on May 31.”
Flags at the District of Wells and the City of Quesnel were also lowered to half-mast.
“We stand with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc to show our respect and support,” read a Facebook post from the district of Wells. “To all the children lost, the survivors, their families and everyone affected by the residential schools all over Canada you will forever be in our hearts.”
Elders, drummers and area First Nation leadership gathered in a prayer circle on Saturday, May 29 to remember the lives lost.
Another ceremony is planned for 7:00 p.m. on May 31 at the Lhtako gas bar.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.
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