Canadians were shocked and saddened on Friday, when the remains of 215 children were found buried at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in B.C. From May 31 to June 6, runners across the country can stand in solidarity with Native Women Running as they run 2.15 miles to honour the memory of these children.
In an interview with CBC News, Kukpi7 (Chief) Rosanne Casimir of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation said the deaths of these children were undocumented.
“Some were as young as three years old,” she continued. “We sought out a way to confirm that knowing out of deepest respect and love for those lost children and their families, understanding that Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc is the final resting place of these children.”
Native Women Running (NWR) is a U.S.-based online community of native women runners from across North America living on and off the reservation, started by Verna Volker from the Navajo Nation. She started NWR out of frustration when she was scrolling through Instagram and noticed a lack of Native women runners. The goal of the community is to provide representation for native women runners in the running world, to share their stories and to become a place of community, inspiration, motivation, and visibility for native women runners.
Canadian runners can support Native Women Running this week by running 2.15 miles any time between May 31 and June 6, wearing orange, and using the following hashtags: #everychildmatters, #215children, #neveragain, #runinprayer and #nativewomenrunning. They are also encouraging people everywhere to support them in other ways, including lowering their flag, reading and learning about residential schools and their impacts, and, if you are able, donating to an Indigenous organization, such as:
The Native Women’s Association of Canada: https://www.nwac.ca/
Legacy of Hope Foundation: https://legacyofhope.ca/
Canadian Roots Exchange: https://canadianroots.ca/
Inuit Tapirit Kanatami: https://www.itk.ca/
Reconciliation Canada: https://reconciliationcanada.ca/
Native Canadian Centre of Toronto: https://ncct.on.ca/
First Nations Child and Family Caring Society: https://fncaringsociety.com/