Sask. residents honour the lives of 215 children buried on grounds of former B.C. residential school
SASKATOON -- On Sunday afternoon, people laid children’s shoes on the steps of St. Paul Co-Cathedral in Saskatoon to honour the lives of the 215 children found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
For those who attended residential school, it serves as an intense reminder.
“I really, really got ill, think of those of those poor little babies that happened too,” said Marina Ghardypie. “Man did we ever, endure a lot.”
Ghardypie attended Duck Lake residential school in the 1950s and 60s.
“I feel fortunate I survived all that,” she told CTV News.
Alice Aby is a Secwépemc elder who attended a residential school in the Shuswap area.
“I’ve always known that this was happening to our children and our people. We always knew as survivors that many of the children went missing.”
Aby said the discovery brings up some tragic moments she went through while attending residential school.
“They poured pure rubbing alcohol in my ears. I spent a year in a hospital in Vancouver where my mom did not know where I was.”
Over 215 pairs of children's shoes were left on the church's steps. Residential schools were administered by Christian churches.
CTV News reached out to St. Paul Co-Cathedral and the Diocese of Saskatoon for a comment but have not heard back.
A priest led a prayer in front of the church steps while people were laying shoes down.
“I call on Pope Francis and all his followers to stand up and say, this is the genocide that we were part of,” Aby said.
Saskatoon's mourning was one of several happening across the country. In Regina, people placed shoes on the steps of the legislative building.
In a release, the City of Saskatoon announcing all flags will be lowered at city-owned facilities.
For Ghardypie, she wants to see more done by the federal government.
“I think that Canada should do better than just apologize because we are still living in third-world conditions.”