Township lowering flags for 215 hours to honour 215 children found at Kamloops residential school

Township of Champlain flags have been lowered to half-mast from Monday, May 31, 2021, to June 9, 2021, in memory of the 215 children whose remains were discovered on the site of a former Kamloops, B.C. residential school on May 28, 2021.  This period of mourning is reflective of one hour for every child whose life was lost.

On May 28, Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir announced that with the assistance of a specialist in ground-penetrating radar, the remains of 215 children were discovered buried on the grounds of the Kamloops Indian Residential School, once one of the largest residential schools in Canada, which was operated by the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969, and then as a government-run day school until 1978. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission final report on residential schools, issued in 2015, found at least 3,200 children died amid abuse and neglect in the residential school system.

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, the NDP’s critic for Indigenous and treaty relations, issued a statement on the weekend, saying the discovery of the children’s remains is a reminder of the destruction the residential schools system left in its wake and underscores, “the daunting amount of work to be done to ensure justice, dignity and equity for our people.” He called for flags to be lowered at all provincial buildings in Ontario out of respect, and for work to be undertaken to seek out the remains of other children at all former residential schools.

“To honour the 215 children whose lives were taken at the former Kamloops residential school and all Indigenous children who never made it home, the survivors and their families, I have asked that the Peace Tower flag and flags on all federal buildings be flown at half-mast,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted on Sunday.

"On behalf of the Township of Champlain, we would like to extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to all of our First Nations community members across the country. We stand with you to mourn the loss of the 215 innocent children. Together, our thoughts are with the indigenous peoples. Every child matters." stated Mayor of Champlain, Normand Riopel.