“I want the government to do something. And now “

The rally was held at 7 p.m., in the last rays of the sun. Aboriginals and non-natives came together to celebrate the memory of these children.

Ben told me about having a ceremony, it’s kind of healing for us. So I thought about inviting people. And at the same time, people were looking for a place to share their anger and mourning, explained Nakuset, Executive Director of the Native Women’s Home in Montreal.

The executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter of Montreal, Nakuset, was present.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Ben Geobe is the one who had the idea of ​​coming to the foot of the statue in Jeanne-Mance Park with drums. We were very touched by this news, so we wanted to get together, he said before grabbing his drum and starting to sing along with a few other musicians.

For nearly an hour, throat singers and musicians followed one another to express their grief and their anger at this event which touched the entire Aboriginal community.

The demonstration was marked by a great sadness shared by all those present.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

That is the truth about what happened in residential schools in Canada. And that’s just one place. There are others that still need to be discovered, launched a woman, drum in hand.

If I am here it is because my parents are survivors. If my children are here, so is it because I am a survivor, she added.

Around her, several Natives who sometimes came with their families hugged each other, their eyes wet. Many imagined that they were their own children, who had just been found decades later.

The crowd raises an arm to the sky.

A long 215 second silence was observed to honor the memory of the deceased children.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

Fay Desjarlais had come especially from Joliette with her two daughters. It’s important to remember what happened, that people realize that residential schools are part of the cultural genocide that we experienced, she explained.

In our culture, children are sacred. This discovery, we live it collectively. [Après avoir appris la nouvelle, NDLR], I felt very heavy all day, continued this Anishinabe, born in Saskatchewan.

Men hit a drum while singing.

Ben Geboe is at the origin of this gathering. We see him playing the drum.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

There were also dozens of non-natives that evening. Like Claire and Malachi. They feel that many Canadians are putting this piece of their country’s history under the rug, as if they were conditioned.

People are not comfortable talking about this, but I think the younger generation is starting to realize, Claire said.

We must realize, as white people, that we owe part of our privileges to these colonization policies.

A quote from:Claire
Women hold a cardboard on which the number 215 appears.

It was time for meditation.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

As a scent of sage filled the air, another woman took over from the musicians. Even today, we suffer from stereotypes and injustices. Thank you for your support, thank you for being there, she cried in tears, before starting a song.

The mayoress of Montreal, Valérie Plante, made a brief appearance on this occasion. Like the hundreds of people who came to the scene, she raised her hand, as a long 215 second silence began.

A woman puts her right hand on her heart.

The ceremony gave rise to some moving moments.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers

The large crowd gathered that evening greatly moved Nakuset, who spoke for a while powerful and beautiful.

The speeches were at the same time filled with sadness, anger and a lot of bitterness.

There is no real effort other than lowering the flag. It took Justin Trudeau three days to do that. This is unacceptable. The flag was half-masted for one hour for each child. Is that all we got? Is that all we’re worth? Is that all the Prime Minister does?

A quote from:Nakuset, Executive Director of the Native Women’s Home of Montreal.

The executive director of the Native Women’s Shelter in Montreal would like Justin Trudeau to apologize to each family affected by this tragedy. I want the government to do something. And now, she concluded.

Earlier today, the Ontario government announced that it was considering a bill to launch investigations into the sites of former residential schools in the province.

Asked about this, the Quebec minister responsible for Native Affairs Ian Lafrenière indicated that his government would first and foremost consult families.

We will not impose our way of doing things. Ghislain Picard (the head of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, Editor’s note), confirmed to me the families’ desire to know more, he said before also going to a commemoration, but in Kahnawake.

 
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