The City of Kamloops is working with the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation to incorporate messaging into this year’s virtual Canada Day event that will encourage education on Indigenous culture and heritage.
For the second consecutive year, the in-person Canada Day event at Riverside Park was cancelled by organizers earlier this spring due to COVID-19 public health restrictions. More details on Virtual Canada Day will be released later this week.
The decision to encourage education on Indigenous culture and heritage comes on the heels of Tk’emlúps’ announcement on May 27 that, via the use of ground-penetrating radar, the remains of 215 children had been found on grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
In a statement, Tk’emlups Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said the band wants people to continue to acknowledge Canada Day.
“The best way to honour our country and the diversity of its citizens — and particularly this year, our future generations — is to understand our real collective history. For TteS, we would like to encourage all to learn more about the colonial legacy of the residential school and the intergenerational impacts that it has had. We also want people to understand the racism and discrimination that Indigenous Peoples face daily,” Casimir said,
“Part of what it means to be Canadian is to recognize mistakes and learn from the past. We cannot proceed to advance as a country without continuing to come together and talk and share experiences. Take this opportunity on Canada Day to do some research, watch some Indigenous movies, listen to APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network) and, most importantly, in your own way, honour all the lost children of the residential schools across Canada.”
Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian noted Canada Day is an opportunity for all Canadians to recognize and learn about the multicultural landscape of the country, including the Indigenous Peoples.
“We encourage residents to reflect on what it means to be Canadian, how our true history has shaped the world we live in and how we can continually progress toward reconciliation and a more inclusive community,” he said.