Kamloops to Chase walking relay to honour residential school survivors and children who didn't make it home | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kamloops to Chase walking relay to honour residential school survivors and children who didn't make it home

FILE PHOTO - A man faces away from the former Kamloops Residential School, towards the South Thompson River, May 31, 2021.
June 08, 2021 - 11:20 AM

Adams Lake Indian Band is organizing a three-day walk to honour both residential school survivors and the children who did not make it home.

Walking Our Spirits Home will begin with a gathering at 9 a.m. Friday, June 11, at Pioneer Park, followed by a relay along Kamloops-Shuswap Road to Chase, a roughly 60-kilometre journey.

This is one of many events held to commemorate those who attended Canada's residential schools since the remains of 215 children were found with ground-penetrating radar by Tk’emlups te Secwepec First Nation at the former Kamloops Residential School. Over 100 residential schools were used in Canada to assimilate Indigenous children away from their traditional way of life, and the school in Kamloops was one of the largest in the country.

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The Walking Our Spirits Home event will consist of ceremonies at the residential school site at 11:15 a.m. June 11 after initially gathering at Pioneer Park, according to the relay agenda on Eventbrite.

Kukpi7 (Chief) Wayne Christian of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, Kukpi7 Cliff Arnouse of Adams Lake Indian Band and Kukpi7 Rosanne Casimir of Tk'emlups te Secwepemc will speak at the ceremony.

Kamloops mayor, Ken Christian, is on the agenda, but his attendance has yet to be confirmed.

READ MORE: Should old residential schools stay in use? Local Indigenous leaders offer insight

The walk will begin at 1 p.m. after a lunch and a 12:30 p.m. registration. Walkers can do five kilometre increments, with arranged transportation to and from the residential school. The first day will end 25 km from the school site and pick up again at that location at 9:30 a.m., June 12.

Sunday will continue at the 50-km mark. At 10:30 a.m. walkers will stop at the Adams Lake Indian Band cemetery to honour past residential school survivors, then continue to the Adams Lake Indian Band gym for closing ceremonies.

Closing ceremonies will include speeches from elders, Kukpi7 Cliff Arnouse and other chiefs.

READ MORE: Indigenous leaders frustrated after Pope passes on apology for residential schools

There will be first aid and spiritual support at the residential school and along the walking journey, according to the event page. Hand drummers are welcome, and other band members are invited to bring community flags for the event.

Walkers will have to register prior to beginning the walk each day.

See the event page here for more information.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Levi Landry or call 250-819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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