BC capital cancels Canada Day programming following discovery of Kamloops residential school


DISCLAIMER: This story contains distressing details.

Victoria City Council has decided to cancel its Canada Day programming this year following the discovery of what are believed to be unmarked burial sites of children’s remains near the former residential school Kamloops Indian.

Originally, the city had planned virtual programming to mark the day due to collection restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the city has said it will produce something to air later this summer featuring local artists and guided by local First Nations.

“As First Nations mourn and in light of the difficult time we live in as a Canadian nation following the discovery of the remains of 215 children in a former residential school, the council decided to take the time to explore. new possibilities, instead of the old planned Canada Day virtual broadcast, ”Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said in a press release.

In a CBC interview On the island On Thursday morning, ahead of the council’s decision to cancel scheduled programming, Helps said last Friday she spoke with local Indigenous people who typically participate in Canada Day celebrations, who said they didn’t think not be able to do it this year.

“They didn’t feel comfortable participating this year because they are fundamentally distressed and upset, as are many aboriginal people across the country,” Helps said Thursday morning.

She recognized the Lək̓ʷəŋən people, on whose territory the City of Victoria was built, and the importance of ensuring that the city’s plans for July 1 reflect the needs of this community.

Aide said residents can still recognize the day in their own way, but the city wants to provide an opportunity for thoughtful reflection and examination of what it really means to be Canadian.

Support is available for anyone affected by their residential school experience and for those triggered by the latest reports.

A national residential school crisis line has been established to provide support to former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour National Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.

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