The heartbreaking discovery of 751 unmarked graves near Marieval Indian Residential School, along with the previous discovery of 215 graves in Kamloops, is a stark reminder of the trauma inflicted on Indigenous peoples through the residential school system. As Canada Day approaches, the Town of Saugeen Shores recognizes this is a moment for national mourning. A time to stand with Canada’s First Nations, our neighbours and friends.
“This Canada Day is about so much more than Canada’s birthday,” says Mayor Luke Charbonneau. “It is a day to reflect on the history of the country and how we can do better. To recognize the pain felt by generations of First Nations peoples and come together in solidarity.”
To honour the indigenous children of unmarked graves across Canada, Saugeen Shores will lower its flags on July 1st to be raised again at sunset. Orange bows will be placed near the Southampton Flag Pole as well as along the ‘Zgaa-biig-ni-gan’ (‘we are connected’) bridge in Southampton. The bridge was named in spring 2018 recognizing the connection between Saugeen Shores and neighbouring Saugeen First Nation.
Saugeen Shores will move forward with its Explore the Shores ‘Canada Rocks’ Rock Painting event, but asks those who take part in the event to consider painting their rocks in honour of the children of residential schools. The painted rocks can then be placed at the Southampton Flag Pole for July 1st. For further details about the event, visit www.ExploreTheShores.ca.
The community is encouraged to wear orange and place orange decorations outside their homes to show support on July 1st. Orange bows can be purchased locally at Keepsakes & Memories. Please also consider taking the time to learn more about the residential school system, and share this information with family.
If you have been affected by the residential school system and need mental health support, please reach out to the National Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419.