The Klahoose First Nation on Cortes Island held a gathering on Tuesday to commemorate the 215 children who were found buried in unmarked graves at the Kamloops residential school last week.
People living on the reservation gathered on Tuesday afternoon to honour the children and their families.
“It’s very heartbreaking. It’s very sad…We do have members that did attend that school in Kamloops, so it is (hard) that this keeps coming up, especially for the residential people,” said Klahoose Chief Kevin Peacey. “Every second year something comes up and it brings back nightmares.”
Counsellors are on standby at Klahoose. Peacey said that while some of the members who had attended the Kamloops residential school have passed away, the effects can be felt by the whole family.
“I’m pretty sure there’s probably more people out there that we’re going to start finding out about that don’t live on the reserve who have family who have gone there too,” he said. “It’s still a bit early in the stages of people reaching out to us.”
Peacey also said that he is preparing for more revelations about the other residential schools in the province.
“It’s pretty serious,” he said. “With all the residential schools in B.C. it’s the big question of how many people were buried there. I’m pretty sure it’s opening up a can of worms.”
However, he hopes that something good can come of all of this.
“Myself, I would like to see that something is actually done this time instead of turning the page. I hope somebody will be held accountable for it. It’s so sad to see,” he said.
“You’re going to see people angry, mad, I just hope this turns into the right thing,” he added. “I hope people are held accountable and not the way (it has been) most of the time. It’s always been pushed away like ‘oh yeah’ and then just carry on.”
National Indian Residential School Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.