Trinity Western, Langley’s faith-based university, remembered the unthinkable during a vigil at the local campus Thursday.
Last May, Kúkpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir announced to the world that ground-penetrating radar found the remains of up to 215 people buried at an unmarked site at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Across Canada, hundreds of more suspected graves connected to residential schools are being confirmed.
In response, TWU’s Siyá:m Patricia Victor led four prayer sessions and a vigil at the Langley campus to “uphold Indigenous peoples in strength, comfort, hope and healing, and to call faith communities to lament and to seek truth and reconciliation.”
During this times of remembrance, the campus bell tower chimes rang out, the smallest bell ringing 215 times to symbolize lives lost and the 216th chime came from the largest bell, symbolizing an ongoing mourning.
Victor noted that for the Indigenous community, Kúkpi7 Casimir’s announcement confirmed what had been spoken about – deaths and disappearances of children who attended residential schools. The announcement reopened the pain and the trauma for many, and grief and sorrow overshadowed the community.
For many non-Indigenous people, Kúkpi7 Casimir’s announcement became a catalyst for wanting to learn more about Canada’s hidden history.
“Let us continue to remember, to pray, and to walk together in a good way,” Victor said. “By walking together in a good way, we will walk the path of truth and healing, and wholeness will come to all of us.”
Last fall, the university held a campus-wide day of learning on Sept. 30, the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
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