WATCH: There was a sombre ceremony in Victoria’s Inner Harbour Tuesday afternoon as the memorial monument for children of residential schools was welcomed to the city.
The 18-foot monument has been on a journey from Port Hardy, home of its carver Stan Hunt. It stopped by several communities to allow people to come together and honour and uplift the spirit of the children who didn’t make it home from residential school.
“So many of us little ones wanted to commit suicide, so many of us,” said Verna Flanders, 81, while raising her hands to the pole when it stopped in Nanaimo.
“They’re with us. They’re not alone,” said Flanders, who tells CHEK News she attended a residential school in Alert Bay from age six to 16.
“It’s really hard to see. Because the way it’s painted all black, that’s how I lived in a residential school. All in dark corners.”
Hunt spent years bringing the pole to life after the discovery of 215 suspected unmarked graves at a former residential school site near Kamloops.
A final farewell is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Victoria’s harbour before the monument is transported by coast guard hovercraft to Vancouver, where it will be installed in honour of Indigenous People’s Day.