The March for Children is coming back to Chemainus on Monday.
Once again it will be organized by Penelakut Tribe in awareness of the continuing impact of Canada’s residential school system on Indigenous Peoples.
Penelakut Tribes Admin assistant Nadine Thomas says she hopes greater awareness of the issue comes from the walk.
“Keep up the awareness amongst anyone who’s going to listen,” says Thomas. “There are probably younger First Nations people who aren’t aware of what happened.”
It’s the second time the event is running through Chemainus with last year’s turnout blowing away the tribe’s expectations.
“We don’t know what to expect for numbers,” says Thomas. “Last year we had over two thousand people, which we totally did not expect so we’re not even guessing a number. It was huge.”
After that success, they knew they would run it again. It’s been a work in progress for some time.
“We had it in mind that we were going to do it again, but we probably got the ball rolling 6 to 8 weeks ago,” says Thomas. “Everything’s coming together. We just had our traffic control management plan meeting. Everything’s looking good.”
The theme for this year takes a different approach than last year, with the focus will be on the experience of residential school survivors in a more direct way.
“Last year we had a number of politicians that came in and spoke and things like that. But this year we’re trying to focus on the First Nations people – the older ones who went through the residential school system – and we’re hoping that they’ll be able to share their story or their observations of residential schools,” says Thomas.
The walk starts at the Salish Sea Market just after 8:30 am on Monday. From there they will walk down to Waterwheel Park, for the afternoon of speakers and performances from some dance groups.