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Orange ribbons line Richmond road in memory of 215 Indigenous children

Another vigil for the 215 children will be held on Tuesday at the Richmond Library and Cultural Centre

Orange ribbons have been hung along Russ Baker Way to commemorate the 215 children whose remains were found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. 

Burkeville residents, including Tsartlip First Nation member Renee Robinson, spearheaded the initiative. 

In the meantime, a memorial in front of Brighouse library is growing – a hundred children’s shoes have been brought there to show support Indigenous people in light of the discovery at the residential school. 

The library plaza memorial started Monday evening when a vigil was held – organized by Steveston resident Karina Reid. 

There will be another vigil on Tuesday evening at the library square at 7 p.m. Richmond residents are encouraged to bring children’s shoes to the memorial – the idea is to have 215 pairs of shoes. 

Robinson spoke at a vigil Monday organized at Richmond Library and Cultural Centre. She told the Richmond News the discovery of the unmarked graves of 215 children makes her believe Canadians are finally listening to Indigenous people about the abuse suffered by many residential school attendees. 

“I’ve been talking about a genocide for about 30 years now,” Robinson told the News. “It seems finally that Canada has agreed and sees what we’ve been talking about.” 

Many of her family members, including her parents, were forced to attend residential school.

The Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced on May 27 the discovery of the unmarked burial sites, located using the help of a ground penetrating radar specialist.

In an update on the investigation and discovery on Friday, Chief Rosanne Casimir said the community and Canada’s First Nations are grieving and there’s no roadmap to follow.

A final report from the radar specialist is expected near the end of this month, said Casimir. 

About 150,000 Indigenous children across Canada were forced to attend residential schools, run by churches, where many suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse.  The last ones closed in the mid-1990s.

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Roman Catholic Church to take responsibility for residential schools in Canada.