Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the community gathered in orange shirts and regalia, some with drums in hand, to celebrate and honour National Indigenous Peoples Day (NIPD).
The eagle’s nest group from Yellowhead Community Services held a few events for the little ones at Dutch Lake Community Centre on Monday. A couple teepees were put up in the field next to the clamshell and bannock was provided as a little treat.
While NIPD celebrates the way of life and culture of Indigenous people all over Canada, this one would be especially remembered, said elder Rose McArthur, due to the discovery of the 215 children found buried at the former Kamloops residential school, and the hundreds more found at other residential school sites across the country, including her home land of the Dakota Nation.
McArthur led the group through a women’s traditional dance after telling her experience of residential schools and the meaning of the various colours, designs and beading on her regalia.
Afterwards, the group gathered in a circle and danced to a Sage Hills powwow song, followed by singing and drumming the women’s warrior song.
The events at the DLCC were also for the eagle’s nest children as a ceremony was held to celebrate their journey into Kindergarten next year.
Later in the day, a drum ceremony was held at Clearwater Secondary School at the tennis courts where 215 orange ribbons, and almost as many teddy bears, have been tied to the fence in honour of the 215 children found at the former residential school in Kamloops.
Local Indigenous leaders and elders spoke to the few dozen in the crowd about their experiences, about the atrocities that have been brought to light in recent weeks and to honour those children, both through song and silence.
At 7:00 p.m., Indigenous community members performed the women’s warrior song for 215 seconds, which was immediately followed by 215 seconds of silence — one second for every child lost on the residential school grounds.