Lou-Ann Neel, member of Kwakwaka’wakw tribe of the Pacific Northwest Coast, gives a heartfelt speech at an afternoon vigil at the Mungo Martin House in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park to honour the lives of 215 children whose remains were found recently outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Lou-Ann Neel, member of Kwakwaka’wakw tribe of the Pacific Northwest Coast, gives a heartfelt speech at an afternoon vigil at the Mungo Martin House in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park to honour the lives of 215 children whose remains were found recently outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

Victoria vigil honours Indigenous children buried at Kamloops residential school

Memorial created at Mungo Martin House in Thunderbird Park to help grieve loss of children

Mourning continues in Canada after the remains of 215 children were discovered in a mass, unmarked grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The City of Victoria planned to lower the Xe xe Smun eem-Victoria Orange Shirt Day flag and Canadian flag to half-mast at 6 p.m. Monday (May 31) to honour the 215 children who died at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

An afternoon vigil and prayer ceremony was held on Monday at Mungo Martin House in Thunderbird Park, next to the Royal BC Museum, to bring gifts, share stories and grieve the lives of those lost.

RELATED STORY: Remains of 215 children found at former B.C. residential school an ‘unthinkable loss’

The flags will remain lowered through June 8 for a total of 215 hours, one hour for each of the children who died.

“When I first heard all of this, it felt like I had been kicked in the gut with steel toe shoes,” said Lou-Ann Neel, a member of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples and organizer of museum vigil. “I was part of the generation that were the last to attend residential schools, so I know firsthand what happened there, and what happened in a lot of schools.”

Neel urged people to take responsibility for their own learning to be able to collectively reconcile in light of the findings. She remains hopeful that Canadians will move forward with a willingness to learn, emphasizing that there is a lot of valuable information online and that it is not an Indigenous person’s job to conduct such ongoing education.

RELATED STORY: B.C. premier ‘horrified’ at discovery of remains at Kamloops residential school site

“Please don’t tell me to come and talk about my resilience, come and talk to me about human rights. All Canadians have a responsibility and a duty to understand what our human rights are and to make sure everyone alongside is enjoying those rights. We all know that’s not how it’s been,” she said.

Neel adamantly called on all political leaders to take action, change legislation and ensure Indigenous voices are heard loudly, in politics and beyond.


Do you have a story tip? Email: vnc.editorial@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

residential schools

 

A young man leaves a teddy bear in memory of 215 children whose remains were found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, during a vigil at the Mungo Martin House in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

A young man leaves a teddy bear in memory of 215 children whose remains were found at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School, during a vigil at the Mungo Martin House in Victoria’s Thunderbird Park. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)

An onlooker stands at the foot of the B.C. legislature steps, where numerous shoes and stuffed animals and candles pay homage to 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops last week. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

An onlooker stands at the foot of the B.C. legislature steps, where numerous shoes and stuffed animals and candles pay homage to 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops last week. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)

Just Posted

Victoria Regional Transit System routes 7 UVic/Downtown, 21 Interurban/Downtown and 53 Colwood/Langford will undergo changes as of June 28. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria school routes scaled down for summer by BC Transit

Service changes take effect June 28, enhanced service returns this fall and winter

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Saanich crash closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic is impacted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

Andrea Lewis (left), board member of the Shoreline Medical Society, receives a $3,000 cheque from Andrew Hansen, owner of Boondocks Bar and Grill. They are joined by Elizabeth Rhoades, executive director Shawna Walker, as well as board members Richard Flader and Andrew Tidman. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney bar owner helps doctor recruitment for Saanich Peninsula clinics

Boondocks Bar and Grill raised $3,000 in May for Shoreline Medical Society

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

Most Read