Trudeau faces chants, pounding drums as he walks through crowd at Kamloops memorial

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a sober and big reception on Monday as he attended a day-long memorial service marking a year since the discovery of graves believed to contain the remains of goods. hundred children at an old residential school in Kamloops, BC.

Following Trudeau was a large group of memorial attendees, who chanted and drummed as he paused in the stands, speaking directly to people and often exchanging hugs with others.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Trudeau overheard an elderly woman he had talked to and hugged.

Others appeared unfriendly by chanting, “Canada is just Indian land” and “We don’t need your Constitution.”

Trudeau told the crowd he heard their concerns.

Click to play video: 'Splatsin residential school survivors reflect on Kamloops grave discovery'

Splatsin Residential School Survivors Reflect on Kamloops’ Grave Discovery Anniversary

Splatsin Residential School Survivors Reflect on Kamloops’ Grave Discovery Anniversary

Earlier on Monday, Governor Mary Simon spoke to the crowd about the atrocities, deaths, loss and silence of residential schools that Indigenous people have long known to all. everyone knows.

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“It is unthinkable that a place of study could be so cruel. It is inexcusable that people can commit these atrocities or that people can stay silent when they have committed them,” she said.

A year ago, Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced that the graves had been discovered using ground-penetrating radar at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

They are believed to be holding the remains of 215 children who died at the school, a discovery that led to the discovery of hundreds of other similar sites around the country and triggered a national calculation of the relationship in Canada’s past and present with indigenous peoples.

Read more:

Reclaim, rebuild: Kamloops school survivors share in memorial for missing children

Simon said while unmarked child graves found around Canadian schools have been called a discovery, for survivors it is confirmation of experience and knowledge. First Nations traditions are passed down from generation to generation.

Simon said: “It shouldn’t have taken that long, but everyone knows in the end. “And understanding has transformed this community. People have come here on pilgrimage to pay their respects, to say they’re sorry, to show their support.”

Simon, the first Indigenous person in Canada to hold the post of Governor-General, said many members of Tk’emlups te Secwepemc don’t have time to grieve and she hopes that Monday’s event can contribute to the process. their cure.

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“We mourn with you. We stand with you. We believe you,” she said.

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief or Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir told the crowd at the memorial that she hoped the events of the past year would lead to reconciliation for the Indigenous.

“Non-indigenous people are now wanting to know about this country’s true hidden history. That we know is a good thing. Conversations, however difficult, will lead to the strides we all need to take towards our collective history.”

Click to play video: 'Tk'emlùs te Secwépemc marks a year since unmarked graves were rediscovered'

Tk’emlùs te Secwépemc marks one year since unmarked graves were rediscovered

Tk’emlùs te Secwépemc marks one year since unmarked graves were rediscovered

Casimir was part of a delegation to the Vatican, where the Pope apologized last month for the Catholic Church’s role in Canada’s residential school system.

Although she said she was disappointed that the Pope would not be coming to Kamloops during his scheduled visit in July, she was delighted that he would be meeting other Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

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Pope Francis will make stops in Edmonton, Quebec City and Iqaluit during his visit.

Trudeau also watched a traditional jingle dance performance and participated in a closed-door meeting with Casimir and members of her panel on Monday.

The Prime Minister also attended the closing ceremony of the memorial and addressed the media afterwards.

Read more:

In honor of Le Estcwicwéy̓: BC First Nation marks 1 year since the discovery of 215 unmarked graves

He faced widespread criticism last September for not attending national reconciliation day ceremonies in Kamloops.

Kamloops school survivor John Jules said Monday’s memorial was an inspiring event. Jules took part in a dance where he walked around the stage with hundreds of people, young and old.

“It was great to have all of us together,” he said. “It brings healing to our people.”

© 2022 Canadian Press

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