National Indigenous Peoples Day: 2 events to celebrate and mourn on Monday, June 21
VANCOUVER -- This year’s National Indigenous Peoples Day, which falls on Monday, will include a vigil for the 215 children whose bodies were recently identified as buried in unmarked graves at the Kamloops residential school site.
Those who organized the kids’ shoe memorial at the Vancouver Art Gallery are asking people from coast to coast to mourn and remember the children at 7 p.m. Kamloops time.
“Everyone mourning the discovery of the 215 children at residential schools, raise your voices, your drums .... let them hear us,” reads the event description.
Those in Vancouver, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, are also being invited to come to the steps outside of the gallery, where the existing shoe memorial is located.
“Now more than ever non-Indigenous persons are called to hold space and centre Indigenous peoples and their experiences,” reads the event description.
The event is being promoted on Facebook by those associated with the existing shoe memorial, including Haida artist Tamara Bell. Bell is the person who first conceived of the idea of placing 215 pairs of kids shoes on the gallery’s steps back in May, when the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced they’d found the bodies. Since then, it has become an important space for meeting, healing and learning about residential schools.
“Wear orange and bring your drums,” reads the event description, making reference to First Nations drummers.
Earlier in the day on Monday, the Carnegie Community Centre and UBC are hosting a free online cultural event in celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, and it’s also open to everyone.
The event, which will feature live streamed and pre-recorded performances and artist talks, runs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. It will kick off with a welcome from Squamish Chief Bill Williams, and include performances by the Carnegie’s lexwst’i:lem drum group and by dancer Larissa Healey, and more.