Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison and local community advocate Trisha Cowie have collaborated in organizing a special community service to honour the 215 indigenous child victims found in an unmarked grave at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.
As the sun rises over Muskoka on June 21, 2021, Trisha and volunteers will mark the beginning of Indigenous Awareness Week by placing 215 commemorative and awareness-raising signs in Memorial Park in downtown Bracebridge where the display will remain until the evening.
At 1:00 pm on Monday June 21, 2021, a ceremony will be held at Memorial Park, which will include First Nations drummers, words from Indian Residential School survivor Elder, Lila Tobobondung, and words from Traditional Elder, Doug Pawis. Local elected officials present will include MP Scott Aitchison, MPP Norm Miller, District Chair John Klinck and Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith.
In the following days, the commemorative signs will be moved to other locations throughout Muskoka where they will be displayed from 9:00 am to 8:00 pm each day. The locations are as follows:
Tuesday, June 22, 2021 Hanna Park, Port Carling Muskoka Lakes Township
Wednesday, June 23, 2021 Gull Lake Park Gravenhurst
Thursday, June 24, 2021 Port Severn Park, Port Severn Georgian Bay Township
Friday, June 25, 2021 River Mill Park Huntsville
“I would encourage all residents to pay their respects by listening & learning,” said MP Aitchison.
“This will be a moment for communities to come together and reflect, raise awareness and learn about residential schools. It is an opportunity to honour the indigenous children who never made it home to their families. I hope this profound moment is a watershed moment that motivates non-indigenous Canadians to act and to demand the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action” said Trisha Cowie.