Flags lowered to acknowledge indigenous children

June 3, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Sam Odrowski

Flags at Town of Orangeville facilities have been lowered as a sign of collective mourning of the remains of 215 children found at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia. The flags will remain lowered until June 8 for a total of 215 hours, one hour for each child.

Coun. Lisa Post, who sits on the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, put a motion forward during a Council meeting on Monday (May 31), requesting that the flag remain lowered for the 215 hours, which was unanimously supported.

Flags on all federal buildings are being flown at half-mast and communities across the country are dedicating tributes to the Indigenous children who never made it home.

“It’s a time of national mourning and acknowledgement,” said Mayor Sandy Brown. “We look forward to a full and open investigation of these deaths. We mourn for the children and their families, and we hope that investigations that follow reveal what happened. It’s a terrible discovery.”

Coun. Post said as Canadians, we should be appalled, dismayed, horrified, and heartbroken by the discovery, but sadly, not shocked by the events that transpired.

“Sadly, this tragic discovery is not an isolated event as residential schools existed across Canada,” she said.
“Truth and reconciliation starts with understanding our history, acknowledging the darkness from our past, and taking meaningful action moving forward.

“We should prepare ourselves because it has been reported that this is likely just the tip of the iceberg. lowering our flags in memory of these children is a nice gesture and an important one as we mourn as a nation, but we can’t stop at lowering flags. We all need to collectively make a promise right here and right now that we will take meaningful action to ensure that an atrocity like this can never happen again,” added Coun. Post.

She said it’s important that everybody takes steps to learn about our nation’s history and learn from it.

“We need to acknowledge the truth, never deny it, and every time you drive by one of the flags that are lowered to half-mast, think about these children because we can never forget them,” Coun. Post remarked.

“I would like to thank Town of Orangeville staff for taking quick action this morning [May 31] to lower our flags at all municipal facilities.”

The Kamloops residential school was the largest in Canada at one time and operated between 1890 and 1969. The federal government took over the facility from the Catholic Church and ran it as a day school until it closed in 1978.

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