After the news broke of the remains of 215 children found at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., on May 27, the Ponoka community reacted in several ways.
The Town of Ponoka lowered the flags at the Ponoka Civic Centre to half-mast on May 31.
Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS) posted a statement on their Facebook page on May 31.
“Wolf Creek Public Schools is deeply saddened by the remains of 215 children discovered at the former Kamloops Residential School. This is a reminder of the tragedy and the lived trauma of so many,” read the post.
WCPS then directed people to nctr.ca to learn more about residential schools and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.
“As a Member of Parliament who represents thousands of First Nations people, I am profoundly saddened by this discovery and I grieve for not only the lives lost, but for wounds that have never healed and for families that must endure the continued pain of loss,” said Red-Deer Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins on his Facebook page. “Thoughts and prayers will never be enough to undo the mistakes of our past.”
Robin Ouellette says she and her nephew Darien Saddleback spent a few hours drawing children’s footprints in sidewalk chalk on 51 St. and 60 Ave. in Ponoka “for the 215 babies that never got to make their mark in this world.”
Local business owners Mary Lynn Ellingson of Redneck Barbie Inc. and Linda Graafland of Uptown Kidz Boutique came together to create a display outside of their stores, of a balloon arch on June 3.
The display, originally with 215 orange balloons, was a “compassionate gesture for all the lives lost … All Children Matter. One Balloon for every child,” stated Redneck Barbie’s Facebook page.