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Kamloops News

Why Kamloops has a new orange crosswalk with 7 eagle feathers

Left to Right: Sherry and Clayton Peters, TNRD Director Mel Rothenburger, Mayor Ken Christian, Tkwenem7íple7 (Councillor) Morning-Star Peters.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ City of Kamloops

A symbolic new crosswalk with Indigenous artwork can be seen in Kamloops’s downtown core.

The crosswalk was unveiled today, May 20 in honour and respect of a one-year anniversary of a tragic discovery on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, according to a release by the City of Kamloops. 

The crosswalk, located at the corner of 5 Avenue and Victoria Street displays seven eagle feathers in a design that was adopted in consultation with the TteS Language and Culture Department and approved by TteS Council.

Last year ground-penetrating radar confirmed the existence of unmarked graves of 215 children who were students at the school, now known as Le Estcwicwe´y?, The Missing, said the City. 

READ MORE: Chief sees process of 'exhumation to memorialization' at Kamloops graves site

This was the first discovery among multiple similar investigations that have revealed thousands of unmarked graves at residential schools across Canada.

“The anniversary of  Le Estcwicwe´y? reminds us of the tragic history of the past where children were lost, terrible injustices occurred, and Indigenous culture was threatened,” said Mayor Ken Christian in the release. “The City of Kamloops stands with Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc and all Indigenous peoples as the healing continues. We hope the installation of this Indigenous crosswalk encourages residents and visitors to learn about the true history and help create a better tomorrow.”

The crosswalk was unveiled by the City of Kamloops in partnership with the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc .

“This crosswalk project is important to the TNRD as a means of honouring our friends and partners who have shown courage and leadership as they have stepped up and guided the rest of Canada on a path of truth and healing, even as they continue to process their own pain this past year,” TNRD Director Mel Rothenburger said in the release.

“It is our responsibility to recognize the truths of our local past and to support efforts towards reconciliation.”

READ MORE: A timeline of events since the finding of unmarked graves in Kamloops last May

“Kukwste´p-kucw to the City of Kamloops and the TNRD for their ongoing support," acting Kukpi7 Morning-Star Peters said in the release. "This act of recognition is a visual reminder of our joint commitment to reconciliation, inclusiveness, awareness, and healing.”

TteS is hosting a full day special ceremony on May 23, 2022, at the the Tk?emlúps Powwow Arbour to mark one year since the announcement of the confirmation of Le Estcwicwe?y? . The event will begin at 5 a.m. with a sunrise ceremony and will continue with pipe carriers, jingle dress dancers, hand drummers, and more throughout the day until 7:00 pm.

All members of the public are welcome to attend and honour Le Estcwicwe?y? .

For more information, click here. 

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 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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