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A whole bunch march to honour residential college survivors


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A whole bunch of orange-shirted walkers carrying banners and symbols marched from the Brantford civic centre to the previous Mohawk Institute residential college grounds as a reminder that many individuals can not have fun Canada on July 1.

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“Canada is celebrating a day for them and by no means took us into consideration,” mentioned Michelle Miller, who attended the occasion with a number of dozen members of her Six Nations of the Grand River household.

“We’re right here for all these relations that have been within the residential college and since we’ve heard the tales.”

Miller mentioned her father was briefly a pupil on the college.

Her dad and mom raised 12 youngsters and now have greater than 50 grandchildren.

“None of them have been taken and we’re grateful.” mentioned Miller. “However we wish to be right here for the individuals who have been taken away as a result of they’re all our ancestors.”

Family banner

The occasion featured a stroll alongside Mohawk Road to the grounds of the previous college, which was often called the “Mush Gap” for the meals served to youngsters.  A ceremonial fireplace was burning for smudging, and distributors provided meals, drink and crafts on the market.

The ocean of orange shirts moved by means of the road with cries of “Each baby issues” ringing out.

On the grounds, greater than 500 folks gathered to take heed to survivors, resembling Roberta (Robbie) Hill, converse of their time on the college.

“I’ve good reminiscences of the Mush Gap however solely due to the children I made buddies with,” mentioned Hill. “All of the unhealthy reminiscences occurred on this constructing beside me.”

Hill, who was on the college from 1957 to 1961, mentioned the Mohawk Institute left a legacy of ache that resonates by means of the prolonged households of former college students.

“You’ll be able to’t erase the reminiscences of what occurred to these youngsters.”

Hill mentioned a peaceable gathering is one of the best ways to recollect what occurred to the scholars within the residential college system.

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Organizer Trevor Martin, government director of Brant Area Indigenous Assist Centre, mentioned he was happy with the turnout for Friday’s occasion. The primary stroll, hosted final Canada Day,  shocked organizers, he mentioned.

“We deliberate for 60 to 100 folks final yr and ended up with 5,000.”

Trevor Martin mentioned that was because of the timing: it was simply after the 215 unmarked graves have been recognized at what was as soon as the nation’s largest Indigenous residential college in Kamloops, B.C.

“There was a serious response. This yr we’re extra ready and there are extra Each Youngster Matter walks and occasions round that individuals can go to.”

Trevor Martin mentioned Canada’s implementation of residential colleges triggered so many issues.

“So, as a substitute of celebrating Canada, we honour our survivors. Canada is the one which encourages assimilation and has labored laborious to speak away our tradition and language.”

SGamble@postmedia.com

@EXPSGamble

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