Members of TRC honour Indigenous children whose bodies were found in B.C.

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Upon hearing of the 215 Indigenous children whose bodies were detected in a mass grave beside the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia in late May, members of Truth and Reconciliation Community-Bobcaygeon (TRC Bobcaygeon) swung into action.

Together with more than 50 community members, including children, they began covering 215 river rocks with orange paint and then painting hearts and other designs on the rocks.

On the evening of June 16, the rocks were displayed as an art installation on the stone wall outside the Bobcaygeon library and Boyd Heritage Museum and will stay there until mid-July.

Orange is the colour of the Every Child Matters campaign to remember the lives of Indigenous children who were forcibly taken away from parents and placed into residential schools.

Residential schools in Canada were part of a colonial policy to eradicate Indigenous cultures, languages and communities and even though the last school closed in 1996, as Amnesty International has said, “…intergenerational trauma, ongoing harm and discriminatory practices continue to this day,” says the release.

TRC Bobcaygeon co-keeper, Sherry Telford summarizes the group’s aims: “We are learning, educating and working towards reconciliation locally within the Settler community and in relationship with the Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg (especially with Curve Lake First Nation). All of us mourn the loss of these and countless other children and express our support for residential school survivors, their families and all First Nations, Inuit and Métis people who are grieving and mourning.”

TRC Bobcaygeon expresses its gratitude to Barr’s BMR, W & G Landscaping and Construction and Home Hardware in Bobcaygeon for donating supplies for this project.

They also want to thank Mayor Andy Letham, the Boyd Heritage Museum Board and the City of Kawartha Lakes Library (Bobcaygeon) for their support and “we thank the numerous community members from all around the Kawarthas who not only donated their time and creative skills to painting these beautiful rocks, but expressed their grief for the 215 children and hope for the future in their art.”

The group welcome residents and visitors to walk by and view the “215 Children Taken” art installation at the Bobcaygeon Library, 2 Canal Street.

The group will also post the number of the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line (1 866 925 4429) at the site in case painful memories are triggered for members of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities. For more information contact Sherry Telford at 705 928 4034 or visit

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