Shuswap Band holds ceremony to honour 215 unmarked graves found one year ago

·2 min read

This past week orange shirts replaced the red dresses on the Shuswap Band sign. The Shuswap Band held a ceremony at 3:30 p.m. this past Monday to honour the lives of the 215 children that were discovered in Kamloops a year ago on May 27.

Chief Barbara Cote of the Shuswap Band thanked everyone for coming before traditional drumming and beautiful songs filled the air, remembering the children that were taken too soon by the horrors endured through residential schools. More than fifty people gathered around the Shuswap Band sign, boasting orange shirts with love and pride that read ‘Every Child Matters.’

It wasn't the cool spring breeze that chilled attendees, but the stories and memories spoken from the hearts of residential school survivors.

“I hope this day will bring the realization of what happened in residential schools and help to honor the ones who were found and give them identities. There are still many families that have families missing from going to residential school,” says Clarissa Stevens Cultural and Family Liaison for Shuswap Band. “We have some residential School Survivors, and these stories have been told of the graves hidden in the areas around the schools. Now the survivors know that these stories are being heard after the truth comes out.”

June kicks off National Indigenous Month, which officially came into effect in 2009, while National Indigenous Peoples Day will fall on Tuesday, June 21 this year. The Shuswap Band held a Bingo Fundraiser at 5:30 p.m. later that evening in their Shuswap Band Hall. All bingo games had a guaranteed $50 payout while the Blackout Bingo game paid out a guaranteed $200. The Shuswap Band is still in the process of finalizing their events for National Indigenous People's Day which will take place at the Shuswap Band Hall Field.

Chadd Cawson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer

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