A fundraiser intended to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential school for children’s remains topped $100,000 Friday (June 4). Pictured is a church at Chawathil First Nation on Highway 1, on May 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

A fundraiser intended to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential school for children’s remains topped $100,000 Friday (June 4). Pictured is a church at Chawathil First Nation on Highway 1, on May 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

Fundraiser to search more B.C. residential schools tops $100,000

Indigenous leaders hope to use radar technology to search for lost children on Vancouver Island

A fundraiser created to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential schools for the remains of lost Indigenous children has more than quadrupled its original goal.

Started Tuesday (June 1) by local Indigenous leaders Steve Sxwithul’txw, Tom LaFortune and Michelle Mundy, the fund aimed to raise $25,000 to purchase one ground-penetrating radar unit such as the one used to find the mass grave of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School. As of Friday morning, the campaign had raised over $100,000.

“It just gives us the ability to purchase more of those units,” Sxwithul’txw told Black Press Media.

The equipment sends signals into the soil and can detect if it has been disturbed, as it would have been to dig graves.

READ ALSO: Remains of 215 children found at former B.C. residential school an ‘unthinkable loss’

Sxwithul’txw said he has found a lot of anger, hurt and sorrow in those who have posted comments on the GoFundMe page.

One person wrote: “I am Aboriginal. My entire life I was teased, mocked and treated differently because of who I am and where I come from. It disgusts me that Canada’s government and many people are still treated poorly because of our heritage.”

Wrote another: “As a mother of three Metis (Cree), my children would have been taken, tortured and/or killed. This is for all the babies and children burned, killed or tortured and the ripple of pain of blood memories. Reconciliation is here and voice are no longer silenced! We hear your little ones … gone but never forgotten.”

Sxwithul’txw said he was heartened to see many other donor comments came from people who appeared to be non-Indigenous and were expressing their allyship. Comments include apologies, sympathy and calls to do better.

In an earlier interview, Sxwithul’txw said he thinks the next couple of years are going to be “country changing.”

READ ALSO: Indigenous leaders want Vancouver Island residential schools searched for victims

“I think we’re seeing the cusp of something much, much bigger and the realization that Canada has failed First Nations in more than one way – they’ve taken our lives,” he said.

Right now, Sxwithul’txw, LaFortune and Mundy are talking with First Nations from around the Island to respect their wishes and determine if and how they can search the residential school sites.

The fundraiser, called Find Our Lost Children, can be found at gofundme.com.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ ALSO: Sooke School District responds to heartbreak of residential schools with learning opportunities


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Greater VictoriaIndigenousresidential schoolsvancouverisland

Just Posted

This black GM Terrain crosses the centre line and collided with an oncoming GMC Acadia in Langley, flipping both vehicles. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Survivors of rollover crash in Langley thank Good Samaritans for coming to their aid

Collision flipped vehicle into a 10-foot ditch on 16th Avenue

Participants in the 2019 Valley GranFondo wait for the starting signal in 2019. The event, which had to be called off because of the pandemic, is tentatively set to resume in 2022. (Langley Advance Times file)
No GranFondo cycling event in Fort Langley this year

Organizer hopes to be back for 2022

Shannon Todd Booth, the Langley Hospice Society communication and funds manager, with some of the ceramic hearts on sale at Saturday’s fundraiser at the Fort Langley Community Hall. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
First in-person fundraiser by Langley Hospice Society a success

For society volunteers and members of the Fraser Valley Potters Guild, it was a good day

Langley standup comedian Susan Thompson said the cost of her return-to-Canada quarantine in hotel was more than she made during a working trip to the U.S. (Canadian Press/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An expensive return home for Langley standup comedian

Susan Thompson scored work in Las Vegas, but a compulsory hotel COVID quarantine put her in the red

New Langley dining establishment The Barley Merchant was staffing up to open. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
With dining-in back on the menu, Langley restaurants are getting busy again

With the end of the ‘circuit breaker,’ staff are being hired and new looks are being unveiled

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

Most Read