Aurora Children Create a Video Tribute to 215 Children of Kamloops Indian Residential School

Over the course of the pandemic, the Aurora children’s class committee has invited various children’s classes in Aurora to participate in creating short videos as a way to keep the children in the community connected. This existing pattern of connecting and creating throughout a time of distance recently allowed the children to honour the souls of the 215 children of Kamloops Indian Residential School. Eden Naylor describes the process:

“For two of the Holy Days, teachers asked the children in their classes to contribute by sending in videos of them sharing what they like about the Holy Day or acting out activities, like putting up a tent at Ridván. Then we put it together with some music, storytelling or poetry and share it at our community events over zoom. 

When we heard about the 215 children’s bodies found in Kamloops at the residential school we were moved to create a video in their memory and share it as a tribute on the Aurora Baha’i community social media platforms and at our community feast. In the video, the children read a poem by Abigail Echo-Hawk. Creating and sharing the videos has helped children feel involved in the community even though we haven’t been able to meet in person.”

On May 31st, the National Spiritual Assembly made a call for nationwide prayers, describing the “devastating news that the remains of 215 children, some as young as three years old, are buried on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia.”  They went on to describe how: 

“This discovery is a reminder of a dark and recent period of Canada’s history, its legacy of suffering and the present-day trauma for its victims…To honour the young souls, their families and communities, we call for all the friends to offer special prayers over the next weeks, in private prayer and in devotional gatherings or vigils, and especially at the Feast of Light to be commemorated on 3–4 June.  Let us draw on these powerful spiritual forces, joining with others of many different backgrounds and beliefs to educate ourselves and commit, in action, to a future that becomes day by day more illumined, freed of the darkness of this age.” [1]

As the news of this legacy of suffering is shared, a number of teams in neighbourhoods and localities are holding vigils and devotional gatherings across the region. Some have found drawing on the film The Path Home: Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation, produced by the National Spiritual Assembly and presented alongside the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Ottawa has been helpful in moving towards the illumined future the National Assembly describes. The film can be accessed here.

Connect with the Bahá’ís of Aurora here.

[1] National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Canada, May 31, 2021

Get in touch with the neighbourhood team in this story, or share your own learning with Ontario Baha’i here.