A vigil to honour and commemorate the recent discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School is in the works for tonight, May 31,in Yellowknife.

Residents are holding a public event at the former location of the Akaitcho Hall beside Sir John Franklin School at 7 p.m. to allow people to express their grief.

Angela Canning, who launched a Facebook page on May 31 for the event, said that she hopes to offer comfort to members of the public.

“Initially I just created it so people can help cope and express their grief,” she said.

Canning said details of the event are still in the works, in close consultation with the Dene Nation, and the Facebook page will be updated as those details are finalized.

The event page asks people to bring donations of children’s shoes as organizers aim to amass 215 pairs at the old Akaitcho Hall site.

Organizers updated the Facebook event details to invite the public to a fire feeding ceremony and a march to (the former Akaitcho Hall location, in the afternoon on May 31.

The vigil announcement marks an outpouring of sadness by many northern residents and leaders after the news broke of the discovery over the weekend.

Mayor Rebecca Alty and the City of Yellowknife announced Monday morning that the municipality would be lowering its flags at half-mast for 215 hours to honour those whose lives were lost.

“What occurred at Residential Schools was horrific,” Alty said in a statement on her Facebook page. “Thousands of children across Canada lost their lives, were abused and were separated from their family and community to be stripped of their language, culture, love and so much more.”

A National Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. Access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866 925-4419.

Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. Simon obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University of Ottawa. Simon can be reached at...

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