A child waves at cars by one of the banners that were dropped by members of the Westbank First Nation Youth Council (WFNYC) at the Westside Road interchange above Highway 97 in West Kelowna on July 1. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

A child waves at cars by one of the banners that were dropped by members of the Westbank First Nation Youth Council (WFNYC) at the Westside Road interchange above Highway 97 in West Kelowna on July 1. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

Banner honouring residential school victims stolen: WFN Youth Council

Westbank youth hung the banner at the Westside Road overpass on Canada Day

The Westbank First Nation’s banner bringing attention to the Indigenous children who died at residential schools has been stolen.

On July 1, members of the Westbank First Nation Youth Council (WFNYC) dropped two banners over the Westside Road intersection drawing attention to the mass atrocities committed by the Canadian government and others at residential schools.

A banner that read “#CancelCanadaDay, No Pride In Genocide” was reported missing on the WFNYC Facebook Page on Aug. 7.

“Two hundred and 15 children turned into 5,000-plus and hardly anyone is talking about it,” said the WFNYC. “The Every Child Matters banners are a display of solidarity and to keep the conversations going.”

After posting to social media that the banner was stolen, the support they received from the community was overwhelming.

One Facebook user said, “You can steal the banner. But you can never steal the truth.” Another wrote, “I exit onto that bridge every day after work, I noticed it was gone too and was hoping it was for the right reason but that’s very sad. It’s crazy to me that it’s so hard for people to understand… if it were our children we would be devastated too and people are still suffering. Your time will come and I will stand with you in the meantime.”

“[We are] blown away by the outpour of support from the public after the banner went missing. We see you, we hear you,” said the WFNYC. “We urge the person that has taken the banner to return it and are hopeful… that this individual will bring it back in good condition.”

However, in the event the banner is not returned, they are taking donations to replace it or to obtain a permanent space sometime in the future. The goal is a billboard on Highway 97, to permanently spread the message that every child matters.

To donate, visit www.wfn.ca/donations and under donation recipient select other and specify “WFN Youth Council.”

READ MORE: ‘He deserved a life:’ Colten Boushie’s mother demands change in justice system

READ MORE: Feds pledge $83M for residential school searches, $20M for monument honouring children


@_isabellaggrace
isabella.harmel@kelownacapnews.com

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