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YVR and Musqueam Honour and Mourn the Children Buried at the Former Residential School

At YVR, like most of our nation, we’ve spent the last few days processing the devastating findings of the Tk’emlups te Secwepenc Nation’s research team regarding the former Kamloops Indian Residential School and the children who never came home.

YVR and all 26,000 people who work here are dedicated to the business of connecting people with one another. We asked what we can do, and worked with our partner, Musqueam, to come together to share a moment of silence to reflect, honour, grieve and offer support to those affected.

On May 31, 2021 at 2:15 p.m. we gathered outside the international terminal, taking an opportunity after being apart for so long, distanced, masked to acknowledge this experience and reflect as a community. We were honoured to have Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow and members of the community join us, sharing words, culture, and an important message about reconciliation.

Chief Sparrow shared that his father was a residential school survivor and emphasized that Indigenous communities have continued to experience sorrow from the residential school system. “[The discovery of the buried children] was hard to hear, and it won’t be the last time. There are thousands of children still missing, not just from residential schools. Each and every one of you are going to help all of our communities, we need to talk about it.”

“Reconciliation isn’t just about the future, it’s also about acknowledging and sharing the responsibility of what’s happened before, bearing witness to these horrific events and taking obligation of this responsibility forward” emphasized Tamara Vrooman, President & CEO, Vancouver Airport Authority.

In honour of the 215 children who died at the residential school, YVR will light the control tower in orange and flags will be flown at half-mast for 215 hours.

The small amount of time that we spent together and actions of remembrance will never proportionately reflect this loss, or terrible history, but it is a reminder that we need to continue on this path towards reconciliation.

We have always had this as our responsibility and will to continue to share resources and identify ways to strengthen our work with Musqueam.

Photo Credit: Rolf Brülhart

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