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Flags lowered in Williams Lake to honour and remember 215 lives lost at residential school

The flags will remain lowered for 215 hours for 215 lives lost
Flags are lowered at city hall in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The City of Williams Lake has joined other governments across Canada in lowering their flags to honour and remember the lives of 215 children found buried at the former Kamloops residential school last week.

City staff lowered the flags Saturday, May 29, and will keep them lowered for 215 hours to in recognition of the innocent lives lost, it noted in a social media post.

“We continue to hold our Secwepemc friends and neighbours in our thoughts and send them strength in this devastating time.”

Indigenous communities and survivors are finding their own ways to pay their respects, and also cope with the discovery of the remains of the children, a stark reminder of the tragedies that unfolded within the Canadian Indian Residential Schools.

Read More: Indigenous communities rocked by Kamloops residential school burial discovery

Friday evening Chief Willie Sellars of the Williams Lake First Nations hosted a ceremony at the Lake City Secondary School Williams Lake campus where roughly 100 people gathered to listen to leaders share their feelings about the discovery and the legacy left behind from residential schools, including the nearby St. Joseph’s Mission. Following speeches, there was drumming, traditional singing and brushing off with sage.

Orange Shirt Day founder Phyllis Webstad is calling on her community to show their support to the victims of the former Kamloops residential school by putting an orange shirt, a teddy bear or a child’s pair of shoes outside of their homes.

The B.C. society of Indian Residential School Survivors is offering toll-free telephone support for survivors at 1-800-721-0066.

Please see and this week’s paper for continuing coverage surrounding the history of residential schools and thoughts from our Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders on how to move forward.

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Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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