Dawn McMaster, a Coast Salish from Nanaimo B.C., sits with photos of loved ones affected by Canada’s residential schools. Her uncle Robert Tommy was taken from her grandparents when he was four and sent to residential school; the family managed to bring him home when he was 12. (KCAW/Berett Wilber)

This weekend, Sitkans gathered in memory of the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered recently on the grounds of a former residential school in Canada. Attendees brought photos, sang, and told stories of family members’ experiences at residential schools.

On the lawn of Sitka’s former boarding school, Sheldon Jackson, around 70 people commemorated the lost Canadian children and acknowledged the complicated local history with residential schooling.  

Voices heard include Steve Johnson, Paulette Moreno, Louise Brady, and Dave Kanosh 

Vigil organizer Steve Johnson speaks to a crowd of vigil attendees (KCAW/Berett Wilber)
A group of around 70 Sitkans attend a vigil on the lawn of the Sheldon Jackson campus (KCAW.Berett Wilber)