Kayla Charlie and Alastair Harry float roses in the sea in front of Sway’ A’ Lana Lagoon following a vigil Sunday, May 30, remembering residential school victims. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Kayla Charlie and Alastair Harry float roses in the sea in front of Sway’ A’ Lana Lagoon following a vigil Sunday, May 30, remembering residential school victims. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

Nanaimo shares sorrow after 215 residential school victims found in Kamloops

Vigil was held Sunday, May 30, at Maffeo Sutton Park

Nanaimo gathered together to share sadness and remembrance a few days after the remains of 215 children were found buried outside a Kamloops residential school.

A vigil was held Sunday, May 30, at Maffeo Sutton Park, attended by a few hundred people.

Snuneymuxw Chief Mike Wyse expressed thanks to those who gathered to try to “lift each other” and give each other strength.

“It’s a very trying time for our people. We all have family members that went through that devastating time in our history,” Wyse said. “To have this news come forward … it’s like bringing that sorrow back to life, all those sad memories.”

The discovery of the remains in Kamloops was confirmed Thursday, May 27, by the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.

Greg Charleson, a Hesquiaht First Nation elder who attended Christie residential school in Tofino in the late 1970s and early ’80s, said learning of the children’s remains found in Kamloops “triggered me again in a sad, sad way.”

He asked all British Columbians and Canadians to support each other and recognize the grief and sorrow that families and communities are feeling.

“My prayers, my heart and my thoughts are with those families of those children. Not just those families, but those children and their spirits, and how your prayers, how your love, how your concern is going to bring them home to where they need to be. They need to be with their ancestors in the sky, not stuck, traumatized, to the ground,” Charleson said. “They need your prayers.”

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly said the residential school system was meant as cultural genocide and was “very intentional.” He said it’s caused trauma and there is a lot of work to be done as far as truth and reconciliation.

He mentioned Parliament’s vote last week to advance to the Senate a bill to align Canada’s laws with the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

“It needs to be more than words. It needs to be actions. It needs to be deeds. It needs to be how we live our lives and how we work together in our communities,” Manly said.

Organizers asked vigil attendees to bring teddy bears and donations to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services.

At the end of Sunday’s vigil in Nanaimo, 215 roses were floated in the ocean close to Sway’ A’ Lana Lagoon.

The City of Nanaimo will lower flags to half-staff in recognition to the children who died at the residential school in Kamloops.

“We stand united in grief with our Indigenous friends and neighbours all across the country to honour the lives of those children, their families, survivors and all children who never made it home from this dark chapter of our history,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog in a statement.

The B.C. Society of Indian Residential School Survivors is offering toll-free telephone support for survivors at 1-800-721-0066. The National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.

READ ALSO: Flags at federal buildings, B.C. Legislature lowered to honour residential school victims


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

residential schoolsTruth and Reconciliation CommissionUNDRIP

Just Posted

An SUV sits where it crashed through the front window of the 2:18 Run store in Fairfield Plaza, after the driver appeared to lose control on Monday afternoon. (Photo by Phil Nicholls)
Driver crashes through front window of Victoria running store in Fairfield

Phil Nicholls of 2:18 Run said crash sounded like an earthquake at first

Processed sewage is still being deposited at the Hartland landfill rather than sent as biosolids to a Richmond cement plant. (Black Press Media file photo)
Biosolids at Hartland still being placed on landfill in Saanich

Richmond cement plant up and running, but CRD end product not suitable for purpose

The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority is calling on Transport Canada to rescind its ban to Feb. 28, 2022 on cruise ship stops in Canada, to allow planning to begin in advance of a reopening of the cruise industry next year.
Greater Victoria Harbour Authority seeks end to federal ban on cruise ship stops in Canada

Greater Victoria Harbour Authority CEO hopes cruises will resume by 2022

Seismic upgrading and expansion work at Victoria High School is about a year behind due to pandemic-related factors, the Greater Victoria School District announced. (Photo by Cole Descoteau)
Victoria High School seismic work, expansion a year behind schedule

Greater Victoria School District now targeting September 2023 for reopening of historic school

Elk Lake Drive area resident Michael Blayney protests a proposed multi-building development for his Royal Oak neighbourhood, outside Saanich municipal hall on Monday (June 14). (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Demonstrators protest 11-storey development on Elk Lake Drive in Saanich

Saanich locals gather at municipal hall to protest development, public hearing goes Tuesday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

A 30x40 ft boat/car shop in the Little River area near Wilkinson Road was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived on scene. Photo by Comox Fire Rescue
Comox firefighters battle ‘showy’ shop fire Saturday night

Smoke could be seen throughout the Comox Valley

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Port Hardy cancels Canada Day celebrations in wake of Kamloops mass grave site revelation

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

Most Read