Montrealers gather to mourn 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found in B.C.

Hundreds gathered at the foot of Mount Royal in downtown Montreal Monday night to mourn the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

At the heart of the vigil was a drum circle, one that takes place every week at the base of the George-Étienne Cartier Monument.

However, Indigenous organizers noted the ceremony held greater significance and importance this week in the wake of the tragic discovery.

Traditional songs from nations across Turtle Island, the name for the Earth or North America, were shared against a backdrop of tears and hugs, making way for collective catharsis and processing of the magnitude of so many young lives lost.

Some of those who spoke at the event were children of residential school survivors, lamenting trauma from these institutions will continue to have rippling effects for generations to come.

One Mohawk woman recalled her culture being thought of as the work of the devil by those who ran the institution she was sent to.

She noted her children are also bearers of the abuse she experienced: her language has not been passed down, neither have her people's ways of living or their teachings.

The night culminated with 215 seconds of silence; one for each child whose remains were found.

Additional demonstrations were held across the country, including in Quebec City.

-- with files from CTV News' Andrew Brennan. 


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