Special ceremony to remember the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found recently in unmarked graves took place this afternoon in St. Catharines.
The discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 Indigenous children in the Kamloops Indian Residential School, B.C., had exposed the cruelty of Canada’s past during colonization.
The event, organized by the Niagara Regional Native Centre, marked the end of the lowering of flag on municipal buildings as requested by the Region.
It was streamed live for those who could not attend because of restrictions on mass gathering during pandemic.
Niagara Region had requested lowering of flags on municipal buildings for 215 hours, one hour for each lives lost.
The Niagara Regional Native Centre says on its Facebook page, “On this day the flags will go back to normal, but we can’t.”
Shoes left on the steps of City Hall St. Catharines to commemorate the discovery of remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Indian Residential School would be kept to mark the event.
“The shoes represent child taken from their family too soon,” said Karl Dockstader, Executive Director Niagara Regional Native Centre.
There is public outcry for the release of information by the government and the missionary organizations that ran the schools.
Walter Sendzik, Mayor City of St Catharines, said the city would work with Niagara Regional Native Centre to hold provincial and federal authorities accountable for their roles and responsibilities, including federally implementing Bill C-15, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
He called on the Catholic Church to apologize for their role in the residential school system.
At the end of the ceremony, flags were raised to the masthead.