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Prince George memorial to residential school survivors temporarily moved to The Exploration Place

The local memorial for the 215 children whose remains were found on a former residential school site in Kamloops will be moved to the museum for safe-keeping until a decision is made on a permanent memorial.

A memorial for the 215 children whose remains were found on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops had been set up on the steps of city hall until Friday afternoon, when it was collected and moved to The Exploration Place for safe-keeping. The museum will hold the items from the memorial until a decision on a permanent memorial has been made.

Chief Dolleen Logan, and Communications Lead Kevin Brown were on hand from the Lheidli T'enneh as they worked alongside The Exploration Place CEO Tracy Calegheros and her team to carefully place the hundreds of shoes, stuffed animals, and other items into boxes for transport to the museum. A set of grandparents with their two grandchildren who were visiting the memorial also assisted in boxing up items.

In a news release, the Lheidli T'enneh First Nation said the children's shoes and other items that make up the memorial are extremely important to all First Nations and community members. Chief and Council feel that before the rain arrived and for the protection of the items that people had placed at the memorial that it should be moved and stored at The Exploration Place.

“Our nation has entrusted The Exploration Place with some of its most prized historic possessions," Logan said. "We have enjoyed a valued partnership with The Exploration Place for the past two decades. We know the contents of the Memorial to the 215 children found buried in a mass-grave at the Kamloops Residential School will be in good hands at The Exploration Place."

Chief Logan continued: "Our Council supports discussions with our partner organizations such as the City of Prince George, Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, The Exploration Place, and others to determine a suitable site for a permanent Memorial to the 215 children who never had the opportunity to grow and laugh and chase their dreams. We have said all along that the memory of their lives must never be forgotten. This holds true for all children who died while attending residential schools across Canada. Our nation and The Exploration Place will keep this Memorial safe until a permanent site can be determined. We make this promise to the 215 children found buried in a mass-grave at the Kamloops Residential School and to their families. We make this promise to all residential school survivors and to all those who have contributed something to the Memorial that has been on display at Prince George City Hall. Our nation thanks the City of Prince George for taking great care of the Memorial since it began to appear a week ago. We now accept responsibility to continue that care and safe-keeping with our partner The Exploration Place.”