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Every Child Matters March Returning to Duncan on Friday

Duncan’s Every Child Matters March is returning for National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Organizer Audrey George is the daughter of two residential school survivors and the walk is personal to her.

“When I first heard about the children that were being discovered, one of the children was around the same age as my grandson,” says George. “I would be crushed if my 3 year old grandson didn’t make it home. This walk is to educate, inform, build bridges within the community, and bring awareness to residential schools because it’s not necessarily an issue that’s resolved.

“It’s really near and dear to my heart because we’re here to break those cycles and be grateful that our parents survived residential schools.”

When asked if she’s seen a noticable change since the discovery of the children in unmarked graves at residential schools across the county – and boone of awareness around the issue that followed – she says there has been some movement in the right direction.

“I think change is slow and it’s such a big change that I wouldn’t expect to see it in one year, but I’d say the number of participants that we had participating in the walk speaks volumes,” says George.

She is referring to the inagural event which she planned last year that eclipsed 2,000 people.

“I would’ve been happy with a hundred people last year because you just have no idea how many people to expect,” says George. “Residential schools and the discoveries of the children, all of that was really emotional and stressful. You never know which way a community will go. Whether they want to stand with you in support or whether there is hesitation or uncertainty. You just don’t know.”

She says she’s received confirmation of a similar number of attendees this year, with a couple of schools confirming their student bodies will be in attendance.

This year’s route will be a 2 kilometer loop starting and ending at the Si’em Lelum soccer fields on River Road – to make things logistically easier for all those involved.

“It was a little bit challenging for people, say if it was just a single person, where to put your car and then getting back and forth to your vehicle, says George. “So we’re going to do a loop this year and it’ll be hopefully easier for people and less of a headache co-ordinating rides for pickup and dropoff.”

Following the march, George says there is a day of activities planned. That will include talks from residential school survivors and performances from indiginous groups with several food trucks and other vendors on-site.

On their poster they say they will also be collecting donations for local kids.

“This year we are collecting new or gently used shoes and are donating them to local schools for children in need,” reads the poster.

“Please wear your orange shirt, bring your drums, and sing with us as we walk in memory of the children that did not make it home.”

The march meets at 9 am at the Si’em Lelum soccer fields and will get underway shortly after.

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