As children from Little Chiefs Primary School and their teachers drum and sang in Williams Lake’s Herb Gardner Park Friday morning, June 4, Ann Guichon looked on proudly with tears in her eyes and filming the event on her phone.
Guichon and her 9-year-old daughter Kyra decided to start a memorial site in the park to honour the 215 children buried at the former Kamloops Residential School site.
“I’m here because my mom was a survivor,” Guichon said. “Some of us have parents who aren’t strong enough yet so Kyra and I are. I am raising her to be a little warrior.”
The mother and daughter started the site on Wednesday placing signs on a tree in the park, which is located directly below city hall.
Guichon comes from Tsideldel and Ulkatcho First Nations and Kyra is from Tsideldel and T’exelc (Williams Lake First Nation) where they live. Kyra attends Little Chiefs Primary School, which is owned by WLFN.
There are a growing number of children’s shoes, boots, flowers and stuffed animals accumulating at the site in just two days.
JoAnne Moiese, the lead teacher of Little Chiefs Primary School said they brought the students to the site to honour the buried children.
“Our little chiefs wanted to acknowledge them,” she said.
Jennifer Phillips, a primary teacher at the school, did an opening prayer.
“Thank you Creator, she said as she stood near the memorial. “We have so much to be grateful for as Indigenous people in this time, in this life,” she said. “In this difficult time as we are healing we are coming into ourselves and finding ourselves as Indigenous people.”