Timmins family honours residential school survivors, 215 children found in mass grave (11 photos)

·2 min read

Through dancing, singing and setting up a memorial in front of their house, a local family paid respects to residential school survivors and the 215 children whose remains were found at a Kamloops residential school in B.C.

A residential school survivor, George Rose and his partner Holly Buffalo Rodrique put up a memorial of shoes, toys and orange T-shirts Monday.

The display will stay up for nine days, Buffalo Rodrique said explaining the shoes represent the missing children that didn’t make it home.

Rose, who spent at St. Anne’s residential school in Fort Albany nine years, said he tried running away three times but he was caught and brought back. Children weren’t called by their names at the school but by numbers, according to Rose.

“They gave me number 10 for my bed. Like prisoners,” Rose said. His mother, brother and sisters also attended the same residential school.

Rose said it’s not easy talking about the residential school where he was abused. Later in life, he went through treatment centres to heal himself, he said.

Over a decade ago, he started dancing and is now a men’s traditional dancer.

Dressed in full regalia Monday, Rose and Buffalo Rodrique danced in front of their house for residential school survivors and the 215 children. Rodrique and her daughter Sarah also played the drums and sang. Earlier that day, they also held a two-minute and 15-seconds moment of silence.

“I was a little boy. Nobody was listening to me. Now, I'm not afraid anymore and talking now. I'm a strong survivor,” Rose said.

The 24-hour national residential school crisis line, established to provide support to former students and their families, can be accessed at 1-866-925-4419.

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Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com