The second National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Penticton brought out hundreds, Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike, to Walk for the Children.
It was a sea of orange shirts near the Penticton Peach for the start of the walk.
Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel, local Elders, and survivors of the residential school system spoke ahead of the walk’s departure.
“We’re honouring the residential school survivors you see here…these warriors, these strong, determined people that are still with us and that we love so much for what they’ve been through,” Gabriel said alongside the survivors. “But we want to also honour those who never made it home.”
The first walk in 2021 was an impromptu affair that still brought out around 200 people to make the journey from the Peach to the Syilx Okanagan Nation’s Residential School Survivor Memorial on Penticton Indian Band Land.
The five-kilometre walk is equivalent to 6,000 steps in recognition of the over 6,000 children whose bodies were discovered in unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools during the summer of 2021.
The residential school survivor memorial on Penticton Indian Band land is located where many parents were forced to bring their children to before they were taken away by train to either the Kamloops or Cranbrook residential schools.
Following the walk, a Celebration of Indigenous Culture and Resiliency is taking place at Gyro Park from 1 p.m. until 6, including Indigenous dances, drumming, singing, arts and crafts and an acknowledgment of the day.
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