Salt Spring Island community members are coming together along with communities all across Canada to honour the recently discovered missing and murdered students of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation has uncovered the remains of 215 children buried at the school in a mass grave that was operated by the Roman Catholic Church in concert with the Canadian Government as part of an effort to dislocate and eradicate Indigenous peoples and cultures across the country.
These burial sites are known to exist at numerous residential schools in Canada and though this most current discovery is shocking both for its scale, and for the manner in which the unmarked graves were located.
The Salt Spring Island Public Library offered their front steps for the memorial after requests from the community came forward to create a memorial here on the island similar to those happening across the country. Numerous locals have placed 215 pairs of shoes on the steps in honour of the 215 deceased Indigenous community members whose remains have been found at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site.
The memorial will be in place until this coming Saturday. The ongoing work of undoing the historic and active, systemic racism directed toward Indigenous Canadians must continue for far longer.
As of this writing, no statement has been made by the Roman Catholic Church about the discovery.