Every Child Matters

In May, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc confirmed the devastating discovery of 215 children buried in unmarked graves on the former Kamloops Indian Residential School site. A memorial for the 215 children sprang up organically on the front steps of Prince George City Hall, as in many cities across Canada. The community has brought children’s shoes, stuffed animals, and other objects to the steps in remembrance and mourning of these children and all others who died while attending residential schools across Canada.

Before the next rain arrived, The Exploration Place collected the memorial items for temporary safe-keeping at the request of their friends, the Lheidli T’enneh Nation. These objects will be held at the Museum in the Lheidli T’enneh collection until a permanent memorial is established.

To allow people to remember these young children, The Exploration Place is displaying the memorial in their atrium windows. They invite the community to visit and leave additional items, but respectfully ask that only organic materials such as flowers and smudge bundles be left. These items will be periodically burned as has been taught is appropriate by the area’s Indigenous communities and Elders.

“Our Nation has entrusted The Exploration Place with some of its most prized historic possessions,” says Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan. “We have enjoyed a valued partnership with The Exploration Place for the past two decades. We know the contents of the memorial to the 215 children found buried in a mass grave at the Kamloops Residential School will be in good hands at The Exploration Place.”

“We have said all along that the memory of their lives must never be forgotten.”

all images by James Doyle, courtesy of The Exploration Place