Horror of Kamloops residential school marked with provincial 'Stop of Interest' sign | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Horror of Kamloops residential school marked with provincial 'Stop of Interest' sign

A Stop of Interest sign has been erected commemorating the survivors of the residential school system.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
September 06, 2019 - 5:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - A new sign unveiled on the T’kemlups te Secwepemc territory hopes to bring awareness to the harm caused by the residential school system.

The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure partnered with the T’kemlups te Secwepemc to create a reminder of the dark past of residential schools.

"Although markers like these can be painful reminders of historical wrongs, they also provide an opportunity to recognize past mistakes and educate future generations. It is important that we acknowledge the existence of the Kamloops Indian Residential School and the tragic impact it has had, and continues to have, on the Secwepémc people," Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a media release.

The Kamloops Indian Residential School left a horrific mark on the Secwépemc families, according to the Ministry. The school was open from 1893 until 1977, and thousands of the Secwépemc children who were forcibly removed from their families were not allowed to practice their culture, language or customs. If the children spoke their native language of Secwepemctsín, they faced severe punishment.

School attendance was regulated by law, and parents were intimidated and threatened with jail if they kept their children from the school. Students stayed at school from September to June and were alienated from their families during that time.

"The Stop of Interest sign is significant in acknowledging and honouring the residential school and day scholar survivors," said Chief Rosanne Casimir in the release.

The Stops of Interest Signs began popping up in 1958 to tell the stories of the people, places and events that shaped the province. In 2016, the Ministry asked the public to submit ideas for new signs, which saw more than 500 suggestions. Since 2016, 19 new Stop of Interest signs have gone up around the province.

The sign is located in front of the Kamloops Residental School on the T'kemlups territory.

The sign reads: "Kamloops Indian Residential School: The school was built in 1890, then re-built in 1923 due to a fire and remained open until 1977. In the 1920s, Native children aged 4-15 years were forcibly taken and prohibited from seeing their families, practicing their languages, cultures, and traditions. Children attending K.I.R.S. experienced extreme isolation and segregation."

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