Flags on public buildings are being flown at half-mast to honour the memories of the 215 children whose remains were found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
“To honour the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors, and their families, I have asked that the Peace Tower flag and flags on all federal buildings be flown at half-mast,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote in a tweet posted on Sunday morning (May 30).
The City of Kamloops and Thompson Rivers University are also flying flags at half-mast, as is the legislature in Victoria and Kamloops-Thompson school district.
In addition, the municipality will be illuminating city hall with an orange glow in memory of the children.
The B.C. Teachers’ Federation said it is working with its local unions —including the Kamloops-Thompson Teachers’ Association — to organize orange shirt walk-ins next week in honour of the children. Orange Shirt Day is officially held in September each year to commemorate the experience Indigenous peoples endured in residential schools, to honour the healing of survivors and their families and to continue to work towards reconciliation.
“The tragic legacy of residential schools continues to impact our communities,” Kamloops-Thompson board of education chair Rhonda Kershaw said. “I can’t pretend to understand the depth of sadness being experienced, but I grieve with those affected and, with the board and our staff, we will work towards a better future through reconciliation.”
The district is reaching out to affected communities to offer support and to bring together resources to support students, their families and any staff who may be impacted.
“Yesterday’s horrific discovery will reverberate through our students, their families, and our staff,” Supt. Terry Sullivan said on Friday. “I know that the impact of this discovery will always remain with us and we will continue to work towards truth and reconciliation with our Indigenous partners.”