Flags lowered to honour B.C. residential school children

(Newswatch Group/File)

EASTERN ONTARIO – Municipal offices across Eastern Ontario are lowering flags to half-staff to recognize the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a former B.C. residential school.

The remains were found Thursday at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after a specialist used ground-penetrating radar.

In Cornwall, Mayor Bernadette Clement says she’s been in touch with Akwesasne Grand Chief Abram Benedict “to discuss how the City of Cornwall can offer its support.”

Clement added the Mohawks of Akwesasne are an important neighbour and that Cornwall “must try harder to recognize and acknowledge this dark history and to understand the impact it has had on indigenous people and their communities.”

In a statement, SD&G Warden Frank Prevost says the discovery “should galvanize all Canadians in doubling our efforts to root out systemic racism” and honour children who died in a school system “that should have never existed.”

The City of Brockville tweeted that flags will remain lowered for 215 hours – one hour for each child’s life.

In North Grenville, Mayor Nancy Peckford called it a “profoundly distressing discovery, and a heartbreaking reminder of the thousands of children who died in residential schools, including here in Ontario.”

Flags at the North Grenville Municipal Center are being lowered to honour the lives of the children.

“The Canadian flags will fly at half mast at municipal properties in Westport from May 31-June 4 to mark this tragic discovery,” Mayor Robin Jones posted on her website.

In Ottawa, the flag has also been lowered at the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill.