Hundreds Gather for National Day of Truth and Reconciliation March – Okanagan


For the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, the Syilx Okanagan Nation invited residents to support the victims of residential schools.

The “March for the Children” began at Penticton Peach where over 200 people donned their brightly colored shirts in support of survivors and those who lost their lives in residential schools.

« The number of orange shirts shows recognition of this day and what it means to our people. This is the next step, as if we have all been in mourning since the bodies were found, » said Debra Crow.

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The five kilometer walk was another form of ongoing trauma awareness.

« The stories are painful, but this is our life, this is how we came to be, » said Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow.

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“My grandmother was in boarding school and I still feel the effects now that we are moving on. I pray that our younger generations will come, they will start to feel it less and less but they will never forget.

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The Penticton Indian Band says resources and education have increased over the past few years, but the next step they want is action.

« I hear too often that they want to have discussions in the spirit of truth and reconciliation and that’s all they say, but there is no real concrete action behind it, » said the Chief of the Penticton Indian Band, Greg Gabriel.

Since the recent discovery of unmarked graves, many people have asked how they can show their support and although there is no one solution, the group believes that showing compassion is a good way to start.

« Part of the grief is that there is anger, denial, avoidance, etc. It’s really hard to stop and help these people understand what they can do. What ‘they can do is support us, what they can do is love us unconditionally,’ Debra Crow said.

“Truth and reconciliation is the truth. Get up, hear the truth, seek the truth and find out.

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The march ended at the Syilx Indian Residential School monument.


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