A national 24-hour Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available to support survivors and those affected. You can access emotional and crisis support referral services by calling 1-866-925-4419.
A solemn crowd gathered in the rain at Terrace City Hall on Friday (May 27) marking the one year anniversary of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announcing the remains of 215 children in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Preliminary findings at the Kamloops burial ground prompted a national reckoning as unmarked graves continue to be confirmed across Canada.
Ceremonial drumming accompanied dancing in honour of victims and survivors of the residential school system.
Some came forward to share experiences and mourn the past, presenting visions of a better future for First Nations people.
Gingolx elder Charlie Max Lincoln, who survived the Port Alberni Indian Residential School, brought the crowd together to join in parts of the ceremonies.
Nisga’a representative George Moore compared the rain to the tears of lost First Nations children and their communities.
“Let’s find a way to let our good hearts come out and build each other as a people who will live together and prosper together in our region.”
Arlene Roberts, representative of the Indian Residential School Survivors Society in Terrace, stressed the importance of being unified, pushing forward and bringing closure to the families of children who never made it home.
“Bring them home to have a good ceremony so their families can know what happened.”
Jolene Wesley, executive director at the Kermode Friendship Society in Terrace, said this year is just the beginning of a long healing journey.
“I want to thank the allies especially for walking beside us as we work on a journey of healing. It’s going to take years to heal,” Wesley said.
“The trauma that has been inflicted on Indigenous people has affected us intergenerationally and there are thousands upon thousands of Indigenous people who have been affected… This is year one of moving forward.”
Also present were Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach, Skeena MLA Ellis Ross and representatives from the City of Terrace.
The event concluded with a traditional blanketing ceremony for residential school survivors who were present.
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