Thousands gathered in downtown London on Canada Day for a healing walk in memory of the Indigenous victims of Canada's residential schools. Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Calvi Leon asked participants one question: Why are you marching? Here's a sampling of what they said:
“(I’m marching) to show support and acknowledge the terrible history that Canada is based upon. And to show support to the Indigenous community and, as much as it might not seem like it, (to show) that they’re not alone. I’m here to try to learn and grow.”
“My parents were in residential schools. I’m marching to walk for my people and what they went through (and) to try and get their voices heard. I’m happy how (the event) turned out."
“I’m here today to be an ally and show support. It doesn’t feel right to celebrate Canada Day on land that isn’t ours. I’m forever going to be sorry.”
“I’m marching because my mom, she’s Native, and she always taught us about her culture. I’m one of (the kids in the family) who likes to learn about it. I’ve been learning about what’s happening with all the children who died in the residential schools. It’s really sad.”
“(I’m marching) to be an ally. To be here to support the Indigenous community. Showing up to walk is really important. I’m so proud of London right now, to see so many people show their support.”
“I’m marching because I want to show that I’m an ally to our Indigenous community and support them. Especially on Canada Day, we should show our support for the community and what they’ve been through.”
“I’m marching to show support because of the children. I think we’re collectively heartbroken, and we need to show that as a community. And we did a good job.”
"I'm marching to remember all the people that died in the Indigenous community because of the residential schools. It feels good that there are other people at these (events) and want to support people who suffered."
RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL SURVIVORS:
Calvi Leon, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, London Free Press