SMPS honouring lives lost at former Kamloops IRS
Reeti Meenakshi Rohilla - Staff Writer
Sioux Mountain Public School continues to pay tribute to the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were found buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School (IRS) last month. The school has created 215 orange hearts for community members to sign.
“We created the string of orange hearts to bring awareness to our school community about the children lost to the former residential school in Kamloops. We invite the community to come write on a heart to share their thoughts, hopes or names to honour those who attended residential schools,” shared Sioux Mountain Public School’s Transitions North Classroom Teacher/Special Education Resource Teacher, Kristen Prouse, and Primary Special Education Resource Teacher Karen Luddington.
They added, “It is an opportunity for the students to learn more about residential schools that have affected many of our community members as well as residential school survivors and those lost while attending residential schools across Canada.”
The school had initially placed these laminated hearts across its front fence, later moving them to the front doorway under the overhang, for protection from the rain, shared Prouse and Luddington. The hearts will be up for the community to sign until June 25. “Community members are welcome to come sign hearts, although to follow COVID safe practices they should bring their own marker. Markers are available at the office during the school day (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and they will be disinfected between use,” they added.
Prouse shared that the school is hoping to incorporate these signed orange hearts into their annual Orange Shirt Day display that aims to honour the Indigenous children who were sent away to residential schools. She added, “We thought it would be good to incorporate these hearts in honour of all the students of residential schools. September 30th is Orange Shirt day also known for the day for Truth and Reconciliation, we would like to promote awareness of the impact of residential schools.”
Prouse and Luddington shared that the school community has been taking the time to honour the lives lost by signing a heart, inviting community members to join. Ongoing photo updates of this initiative can be found at Sioux Mountain Public School’s Facebook page.