Tk'emlups leads Drum for the Children event on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tk'emlups leads Drum for the Children event on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

As the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation approaches, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc leadership is casting an invitation to all to join in a virtual drumming ceremony.

At 2:15 p.m. Pacific time, on Sept. 30, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc is inviting the public to drum and sing the Secwepemc Honour Song, then post their video to social media.

"It's time to honour the children and the unrelenting spirit of our ancestors," Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir said in a video to announce the event.

The time of the event was chosen to honour the 215 children believed to be buried in unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

READ MORE: Embrace culture in times of loss and grief, says Syilx mental health worker

The announcement of the gravesite findings came from Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc in May and reverberated across the country, with many more Indigenous communities following up with their own work to investigate the grounds near former Indian residential schools. The bodies of hundreds more children have since been discovered at sites across the country through ground-penetrating radar. 

Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc hosted a press conference on Sept. 17 to announce the virtual event and discuss how the community plans to honour the first National Day of Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

"Now that the cries of the missing children have been heard, it is time to show them love, honour, and respect," Casimir said at the virtual press conference. "Since the news about the 215 at Tk'emlups, more children have been confirmed at other Indian residential schools across North America. At Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc, we know the work has only just begun."

She said the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and the virtual event will give the children "the dignity they never had."

READ MORE: The lasting impact of surviving Kamloops residential school

Changing public health orders in B.C. have hindered the Band's efforts to hold the event in-person. Instead, the public is encouraged to record a video of themselves drumming and singing the Secwépemc Honour Song, then post it at 2:15 p.m. with the hashtag #DrumForTheChildren. They will collect videos that tag Tk'emlúps social media pages and share them.

Ahead of the event, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc has invited the public to watch and learn the Secwépemc Honour Song from their online video. The video includes vocables to make it easier to follow along.

"Coun. Marie Baptiste has always spoken passionately about the drum, and the connection to Mother Earth and the connection with the Spirit, and raising and lifting songs and prayers up to The Creator - that is something we've always embraced close to our hearts," Casimir said. "In light of the findings on May 27 and how we can incorporate those together, those discussions have now led to honouring the children, honouring the survivors, and honouring all those that have been impacted."

Work to identify the children buried at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is still in early stages, Casimir said.

READ MORE: First Nation says 751 unmarked graves found at Saskatchewan residential school site

Since the preliminary results were announced in May, they have conducted ceremonies and discussed next steps with various government and legal bodies, still working out the process before exhuming the bodies.

Tk'emlúps leadership is planning to hold a mid-October event to discuss with their community, and others, what the next steps are.

Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc social media channels can be tagged on various channels:

  • Twitter: @Tkemlups
  • Facebook: @TkemlupsteSecwepemc
  • Instagram: @Tkemlups_te_Secwepemc

For more information about the event, go to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc website here.

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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