Healing fire burning in Winnipeg to honour children found at former Kamloops residential school

A fire to honour children of residential schools burns in Peguis First Nation land in WInnipeg, June 15

A healing fire is now burning to honour the children whose remains were detected at a former residential school in Kamloops on Peguis First Nation land in Winnipeg.

It follows a previous fire at the legislative grounds in honour of those same children.

“We just felt that people are still feeling heavy hearted and that they need a place to be able to come say their prayers, put their tobacco in a fire, be eagle fanned down, ” said Eva Wilson-Fontaine, team lead of Anish Corporation.

Elder, health supports and information are also available.

The fire is hosted by the Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program, which serves to survivors of Canada’s residential school system and 60s scoop survivors.

Wilson-Fontaine said the discovery of the children’s graves has taken people to a deeper healing, impacting Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike.

“These little children, we always say they are our greatest teachers and this what these little children are teaching us. That we to start walking together,” said Wilson-Fontaine. “This is what reconciliation looks like. Being together, consoling one another, caring for one another, loving one another because we all the same.”

Packages of support resources available in the Winnipeg area are be available, with Fontaine saying it is important for people to reach out if they are struggling.

The fire, lit on Tuesday, will burn Tuesdays thorough Thursdays from noon to 8 p.m. for the next four weeks. It is located at 1075 Portage Avenue.

“This is a loss survivors and intergenerational survivors feel every day, and this is only the beginning,” said Wilson-Fontaine. “We know the remains of more children will be discovered, and this tragedy has triggered a new wave of grief and crisis in our people and in our communities.