Enoch Cree Nation lights sacred fire in tribute of 215 children

Enoch Cree Nation has lit a sacred fire as a tribute to the 215 children found buried at a former residential school in Kamloops.

The ceremonial fire was lit on Monday and will continue to burn until Thursday, with pipe ceremonies taking place every afternoon at 4:00 near the fire.

“We lost our culture, we lost our language, we lost our whole identity,” said Scarlett Papin, with the Enoch Cree Nation.

“So this is where we really focused on creating that ceremonial space for people to reconnect, come back and cope in the way that our people have been doing since the beginning of time.”

Officials said visitors are welcome to come and join the daily smudging. Smudging is a traditional Indigenous ceremony for cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or a place.

Visitors are also invited to drop off teddy bears as part of the memorial. The bears will eventually be donated to children in care.

The fire is located at the Enoch Powwow grounds on Highway 60, south of Highway 16A. The nation said all COVID-19 precautions and protocols will be in place.

Contact the Indian Residential School Survivors Society toll-free 1 (800) 721-0066 or 24-hour Crisis Line 1 (866) 925-4419 if you require further emotional support or assistance.