Like many other communities across the nation, Kingston, Ont., is participating in a demonstration to mourn the loss of 215 children found in an unmarked mass grave at a Kamloops, B.C., former residential school.
In a post sent out Sunday, Queen’s University’s Four Directions Indigenous Student Centre asked people to bring children’s shoes or moccasins to place on the steps of Kingston’s city hall. A moment of silence has also been organized for 2:15 p.m.
Several shoes could be seen lining the steps of the limestone building in the city early Monday.
“The hope is that this can be a way to honour our loved ones and create a space for healing and community,” Four Directions said.
Thursday, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation revealed that the bodies of more than 200 children were discovered through the use of ground-penetrating radar at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. Some of the children were as young as three years old.
The Kamloops site was the largest school in the Indian Affairs residential school system.
Over the weekend, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson issued an order that the flag at city hall be flown at half-mast in memoriam of the lives of children lost at the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The flag will be lowered for 215 hours, or nine days.
Paterson also said he will be at the vigil Monday.
The Limestone District School Board and the Algonquin & Lakeshore Catholic District School Board also chose to fly flags across their schools at half-mast in memory of the tragedy.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.