KETTLE FALLS – For the past six years now, the Colville Confederated Tribes and the Spokane Tribe of Indians have annually taken part in a canoe journey spanning most of Lake Roosevelt.
This year, they wanted to pay their respects and prayers to the 215 Indigenous children whose bodies were recovered on the grounds of a Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia a few months ago.
Colville tribal member Shelly Boyd, Arrow Lakes Facilitator for the Colville Confederated Tribes, had just one request for all those in attendance.
“That we never forget them,” she said, speaking of the 215 children who never made it back home to their families.
After the last portion of the canoe journey was completed, a ceremony was done to honor the salmon, the canoe journey and to the 215 children that were lost.
“It makes me really happy to see all of you standing here on the shore, gathered around us,” said Barry Moses.
“I see all these shirts, representing 215 children whose lives were lost in the boarding school in Kamloops. There’s 215 who we remember today, so we know that there are many more.“
A prayer was done afterwards as those in attendance were asked to pick up two stones, and to tap the rocks together in unison as an honor song was sang.
“This was an amazing paddle and beautiful salmon Ceremony,” said Boyd.