Events are planned across British Columbia to mark the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on Friday.
The Survivor’s Flag was raised at the B.C. legislature Wednesday in a ceremony that Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister Murray Rankin called “profound and moving.”
Some events planned for Friday in Victoria include an afternoon gathering outside city hall, a bike ride led by a member of the Songhees Nation describing the significance and history of Songhees Park, and the inaugural Songhees Nation South Island powwow.
In Vancouver, members of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation walk 8.5 kilometres from the former St. Paul’s Indian Residential School in North Vancouver to their reserve on the Dollarton Highway as they remember the effects and legacy of residential schools.
The City of White Rock will permanently raise the Semiahmoo First Nation flag at city hall, and in Prince George, the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation hosts a public healing event including storytelling, drumming and song.
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation was declared last year after hundreds of potential burial sites were located at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and ground-penetrating radar led to similar discoveries at other former residential schools.
Former Truth and Reconciliation Commission chair Murray Sinclair has estimated some 6,000 children may have died at more than 130 residential schools operated across Canada between 1874 and 1996.
The day for truth and reconciliation honours not only the children who never made it home but survivors of the schools as well as their families and communities.
A statement on the federal government website says “public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process.”