Enderby high school students use ‘Earth Day’ to honour residential school victims

Click to play video: 'High School Students plant trees in memory of Residential School Victims'
High School Students plant trees in memory of Residential School Victims
Students in the North Okanagan and Shuswap got their hands dirty for Earth Day, planting trees and shrubs to connect with the planet. But they also used the saplings as a special tribute to the children who did not return home from the Kamloops Residential School. Sydney Morton has more. – Apr 25, 2022

Earth Day was celebrated by students at A.L. Fortune Secondary School in Enderby, B.C. by planting 73 trees in honour of the Indigenous lives lost at the Kamloops Residential School.

The high school students weren’t the only ones taking part, many other kids in School District 83 were pitched in to plant trees and shrubs at their schools.

“(It’s important) to educate this generation, the the next generation about what happened, what was wrong and how to move forward with reconciliation, and to remember and honour the victims and survivors,” said Scott Anderson, A.L. Fortune Secondary School Principal.

Read more: ‘They’d want us to remind everybody what happened,’ B.C. residential school survivor says

The tree planting was followed by a traditional prayer, a song and a drum circle performed by students.

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The tribute was witnessed by residential school survivor, knowledge keeper and Splatsin First Nation Tkwamipla7 (council member) Leonard Edwards.

“It’s important for people to know what really happened. To see and hear it,” said Edwards.

“The recognition for our past and the kids that never came home is great. I have to mention the Sixties Scoop, which I think was probably just about as bad.”

Read more: Discovery of unmarked graves chosen as The Canadian Press news story of 2021

As for the students, they are well aware of the injustices that took place at residential schools over the decades.

“There’s a lot of history that should have been uncovered a lot earlier. And it wasn’t,” said Josiah Lichti, Grade 11.

The trees planted on April 22 are a reminder of the dark part of Canada’s history and a promise to continue learning.

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