Aanii, Boozhoo, She:kon, Tanisi, Atelihai, Kwe’
We are an Indigenous-led group who have been Lighting the Sacred Fire, monthly in Kingston/Katarowkwi since May 31, 2021. It began when 215 children were located using ground penetrating radar in a mass unmarked grave in the Interior-Salish Secwepemc (Shuswap) Nation, now known as Kamloops, British Columbia, specifically Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc.
With the guidance of local Grandmothers, Aunties, Women and Two-Spirited persons supported by the men in our urban Indigenous community and our relations from nearby First Nations, along with non-Indigenous friends, family and allies, the initial memorial ceremony saw 400 pairs of shoes collected from the hearts and spirits of the local population. With support from the City of Kingston, specifically the Heritage Department, that first Sacred Fire became a 9-day ceremony, burning 24 hours a day. Since then, the Sacred Fire has been lit every month and will continue until all residential “schools” have been searched.
The Sacred Fire has been managed and coordinated by volunteers since it began with some public donations and a great deal of support from local organizations providing food, wood and shelter. Honouring the children has been healing for everyone.
An invitation is open to anyone to come and visit the Sacred Fire at Confederation Park, the most recent which was lit on June 15th and will burn for four days, honouring those stolen children who never came home.
Upon contacting the community of Tk’emlúps te Secwèpemc Nation a welcome was sent for a Kingston delegation to bring the shoes collected during the initial Ceremony to the Nation and offer them in Ceremony in the Territory where this healing journey began. Currently, fundraising efforts are underway by members of the Kingston community, and this page will be used to increase our reach and ensure the shoes travel in a good way from Ontario to British Columbia.
The funds raised will be used to support the travel, meals and accommodation of the delegation, including grandmothers, aunties and young people, and most importantly, the safe transportation of the shoes.
Join us as we stand with our relations in Tk’emlúps te Secwèpemc Nation and help carry the shoes, and the spirits they represent, back home. The ongoing findings of graves across Nations have been both a reminder and a reckoning for all Canadians that the hurts of the past continue to be hurts today. This process, the lighting of the fire, the collection of the shoes and the return of them to their home is about the healing that can be undertaken by us all.
Funds will be delivered to and managed by Kingston Indigenous Language Nest, a local non-profit.
Please consider sharing this call to action with all your relations if you cannot contribute.