CBC covered the gathering, as hundreds gathered last weekend in Kamloops, B.C., to share their grief and hold space for those in pain as the country reckons with unmarked burial sites at the former residential school.
Excerpts from the interview:
Xakiji Lee Crowchild, from the Tsuut’ina Nation, received a Facebook message last Friday from a friend who was struggling to comprehend the news. “Why don’t we go out to Kamloops,” Crowchild replied, then at home in Calgary. “Let’s go tonight.” Within hours, their 600-kilometre journey had begun.
Crowchild said emotions were raw.
“I thought, those 215, I think they’re still here,” Crowchild said. “The sun that was out … it warmed us. Then came rain. That’s like your tears, washing over us to help get away the lumps in our throat. Now with this gentle breeze, it’s their breath,” said Crowchild, who returned home to Calgary later Saturday.
“All along they’re saying, we’re right here with you. We haven’t left. We’re right here. But now you have to do something about this. That’s your job. The future is dependent on what you do.”
The country as a whole, Crowchild added, needs to confront its racist history.
“That’s going to be really painful, but it won’t be the pain of First Nations. It will be the pain of Canadians, to really begin to fully understand the magnitude of the genocide on Canadian soil. And then, from that point, you’re getting to the actual truth of what happened.”
The full article, “Catching Tears”, by Rhianna Schmunk and Photos by Ben Nelms is here: