Flags throughout Surrey are being flown at half-mast to remember and honour the 215 children whose remains were discovered last week at the site of a former Kamloops residential school.
The City of Surrey says flags will be lowered at all civic buildings and will fly at half-mast for 215 hours in memory of each young life lost.
“The heartbreaking legacy of the residential school system is a dark and shameful chapter in Canada’s history,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum in a release sent Sunday.
Surrey’s school district also says its flags will be flown at half-mast until further notice.
“This horrific tragedy serves as a difficult reminder for survivors of residential schools and their families, of the hurt and intergenerational trauma they have endured,” the district said in a statement. “We will continue to care for our staff, students, and families in need of our support or resources, and we encourage anyone who needs additional support to reach out to their school. We must all continue to take care of each other.
Meanwhile, a petition calling for a National Day of Mourning for Children found buried at a former B.C. residential school has topped 27,600 signatures as of Monday (May 31) morning.
The petition comes after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation discovered the bodies of 215 Indigenous children buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School on Thursday. The residential school was operated by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969 and had as many as 500 children enrolled at one time. The feds then took over the facility and ran it as a day school until it closed down in 1978.
– With files from Katya Slepian