City hall flags in Edmonton lowered, memorial planned to honour victims of Kamloops residential school
EDMONTON -- Flags at city hall will be lowered and a period of silence will be observed by city council to commemorate the deaths of 215 First Nations children whose remains were found buried near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.
In a statement released Sunday before noon, Mayor Don Iveson said that all flags at city hall will be lowered from Monday to June 8 – a total of 215 hours.
At the next city council meeting, a 215-second long period of silence will be observed as well to further honour the lives of the lost children and all victims of residential schools.
Iveson said that news of the discovery of the remains “hits hard” in Edmonton as the city is home to one of the largest urban Indigenous communities in Canada.
He added that Edmonton is home to the largest number of residential school survivors in the country.
“As an honourary witness of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I swore an oath to bear witness, and carry the stories from Canada’s residential school system, and to be an agent of reconciliation,” Iveson said.
“We have long known that thousands of children were unaccounted for, but this mass unmarked grave amounts to stark, heartbreaking and unavoidable evidence of cultural genocide.
“For those who still deny that this, and other injurious colonial practices, were anything less than cultural genocide, please take a moment to stand before the memorials of children’s shoes that are springing up across this country and reflect carefully on that position,” the mayor added.
A memorial organized by the Indigenous Law Students Association is scheduled for 6 p.m. Sunday outside the legislature to honour the children who died at the residential school and support the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc community.
Flags across the country have also been lowered to help commemorate the 215 children whose remains were discovered, including the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.
The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is 1-866-925-4419.