'What if it was your child?': Yorkton Tribal Council honours children found in mass grave at B.C. residential school
Staff at the Yorkton Tribal Council (YTC) wore orange on Tuesday and gathered to honour the 215 children found in a mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
On Monday, staff were asked to place children's shoes or moccasins on the front sidewalk for the children who never made it home. Today a pipe ceremony and walk was held.
Staff tied strands of orange ribbons to trees surrounding the YTC office to commemorate and honour the memory of the children.
Yorkton Tribal Chief Isabel O'Soup said she wants the ribbons to serve as a constant reminder and hopes they stay on the trees for years to come.
“We don’t want to forget,” she said.
She added the hurt is only going to get worse as families of those buried in the mass grave in Kamloops are notified.
“I can’t even imagine what a mom would feel like,” said an emotional O’Soup.
"What if it was your child? Or what if it was your niece or your nephew. We can only imagine,” said O’Soup.
O’Soup said going forward people can educate themselves about residential schools and be aware of the lasting impacts.
“You wouldn’t believe how many people say they knew nothing about the residential schools and what was going on in their backyard,” she explained.
“It doesn’t cost anything to acknowledge the pain and the suffering that they went through years ago.”
The Yorkton Tribal Council has incorporated the KAIROS Blanket Exercise in to their residential school support program. O’Soup called it the “most powerful tool” she can recommend for people wanting to learn about the residential school system and Canada’s colonial history.
“It took 150 years for First Nations people to get where we are, it’s going to take a long time to get back to where we should be, or where we used to be.”