Teddy bears, flowers and children’s shoes line the steps of the Vernon Courthouse Tuesday, June 1 following in memory of the 215 young Indigenous remains discovered at the former Kamloops residential school. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Teddy bears, flowers and children’s shoes line the steps of the Vernon Courthouse Tuesday, June 1 following in memory of the 215 young Indigenous remains discovered at the former Kamloops residential school. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Children’s shoes line Vernon courthouse steps in memory of 215

Teddy bears, flowers and shoes mark unjust finding of Indigenous bodies at Kamloops Residential School site

Light is being shed on the dark history of residential schools revealed by the discovery of the remains of 215 children in Kamloops on May 28.

Residents around the world were urged to show their support to those grieving by putting teddy bears on their porch and leaving the light on Monday, May 31.

Kelsie Kilawna, a reporter with IndigiNews, hoped to support her community on Westside by doing this.

“A lot of our families are grieving these losses right now. Many of our living aunts, uncles, and grandparents went here and so even us as kids we grew up with knowing the stories of these bodies,” Kilawna said. “To have it so publicly all over means that we have to grieve in public, something we aren’t familiar with doing.”

READ MORE: Devastation over discovery at Kamloops residential school felt deeply throughout Shuswap

She posted the event on Facebook and asked the community to show their support and share photos when they can.

“A lot of our stories went so long with people not believing us, and even us as kids I remember defending these stories to teachers, or other adults, so now to have this validated has been a hit to the heart. We need your support now more than ever, and if you’re wondering how to help, this is how you can help right now.”

Clayton Bell created the event via Facebook, which already has approximately 1,000 people signed up as going and nearly 800 interested.

“It is important that we acknowledge the pain and trauma this has caused past and present generations,” Bell said in his event.

Vernon resident Leo Isaac made a display of stuffed animals and candles on his driveway, where he drew 215 hearts in sidewalk chalk to honour the children discovered in Kamloops. Teddy bears, flowers and children’s shoes also lined the steps of the Vernon Courthouse.

READ MORE: Petition calls for day of mourning for children found buried at former B.C. residential school


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Vernon residents are showing their support for those grieving the loss of 215 children, whose remains were discovered at the Kamloops Residential School May 28, 2021. <ins>Residents are asked to put a teddy bear out on their porch at 5 p.m. Monday, May 31 and leave the light on.</ins> (Leo Isaac photo)

Vernon residents are showing their support for those grieving the loss of 215 children, whose remains were discovered at the Kamloops Residential School May 28, 2021. Residents are asked to put a teddy bear out on their porch at 5 p.m. Monday, May 31 and leave the light on. (Leo Isaac photo)