Watch: Indigenous people share video of whales joining ceremony to honor dead 215 children
An extraordinary video has shown the moment a group of killer whales appeared amid an Indigenous ceremony to honour 215 dead children.
Cory Cliffe, the founder of the 7 Generations Steward Society, told the Vancouver Island Free Daily that the group had gathered to hold a memorial for 215 children found buried at the site of the Kamloops Indian Residential School.
The Tk’emlúps te SecweÌpemc Indigenous nation in British Columbia announced the shocking news early this month that it had found the remains of the children at the site of what was once Canada’s largest residential school.
The school system, run by the government and church groups, saw thousands of children taken from their homes under the guise of assimilating Indigenous children. Many were subjected to horrific abuse.
“I talked to the board of directors with 7 Generations Steward Society and we agreed that something needed to happen down at the Spit. It didn’t need to be huge, but something needed to happen,” Mr Cliffe told the newspaper.
During the ceremony to honour the newly discovered deceased children, the society explained that something very poignant occurred.
“Towards the end of the paddle song, somebody in the crowd started making the body motion of the killer whale,” Mr Cliffe explained.
“We thought that they were just feeling the spirit, but the next thing you know people were pulling out their cameras and going ‘Holy cow, look at that!’ We turned around and there were killer whales coming towards us.”
The discovery of the remains has reopened traumatic wounds for many survivors of the system and their ancestors.
“I believe they came to deliver our messages to the children,” Mr Cliffe told CTV News of the wales. “They’re giving the kids their final journey that should have taken place a long time ago.”
“Honestly, (it was) one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen and had the privilege to be part of,” he said.
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