Teddy bears, flowers and children's shoes line the steps of the Vernon Courthouse Tuesday, June 1 following in memory of the 215 young Indigenous remains discovered at the former Kamloops residential school. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Okanagan Indian Band honours 215 children

Feeding the Spirits and Calling Them Home event taking place on Westside

Okanagan Indian Band members are thinking of and praying for the children who never made it home.

Following the tragic discovery of 215 remains of children at the Kamloops Residential School, a special ceremony is taking place at Komasket Park today (Tuesday, June 8).

The Feeding the Spirits and Calling Them Home event, for members only, includes offerings from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“We as Indigenous Peoples’ must come to terms with is the fact that we’ve been living the effects to which residential schools are a single aspect of a system to support colonization in the form of colonialism. We don’t have to look beyond our communities to see the effects of this reality,” OKIB chief Byron Louis said. “It is one where our People continue to suffer the effects of social dysfunction that are too long to list.”

Healing must begin now, Louis said, by members and for members.

Not able to go to the government, and definitely not churches, “there is no one coming to save us except ourselves… We must heed the words of our Elders, ‘we must help ourselves.’”

Louis said in the “past five centuries of attacks,” Indigenous people were subjected to murder, rape, starvation, medical experimentation, physical and mental abuse and institutionalized cover-ups.

“These are the people that as children fought, lived died and survived the undeclared war against children. They are veterans, not survivors or victims. These child warriors are worthy of honour who unknowingly fought in defence of our people. We are here because of them.

“Do not lower your head and cry, hold your head up in praise and honour them and most importantly support them. This is what they rightfully deserve in their service to our people. They need our praise, not pity!”

The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering from trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The 24-7 hotline can be reached at 1-866-925-4419.

READ MORE: Syilx Nation members make emotional trip to Kamloops Residential School for Unity Run

READ MORE: Kamloops Residential School never discussed by Vernon survivor


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Indigenousresidential schools

Just Posted

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

.
Princeton’s Spotlight wins two provincial awards for excellence

Publisher takes first place for investigative reporting

Princeton GSAR responds 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2020 the crew was called out 34 times, and members spent 721 hours on calls, and 683 hours training. Photo Princeton GSAR Facebook
Teen missing in Manning Park found after 24 hours

Young man spends night on mountain and survives with just a few scrapes

The COVID-19 cases reported over the week of May 30 to June 5. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees second straight week of 17 new COVID-19 cases

Summerland, Keremeos and Princeton all recorded no new cases

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen has hired a new FireSmart coordinator. (Black Press file photo)
FireSmart coordinator named for Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen

Kerry Riess will provide assistance to mitigate potential wildfire hazards

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read