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Community mourns for victims of Canada’s residential school system

At the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex on the Cote First Nation a ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 16, to honour the 215 children whose bodies were revealed using ground penetrating radar technology.

At the Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex on the Cote First Nation a ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 16, to honour the 215 children whose bodies were revealed using ground penetrating radar technology.

School principal, Jonas Cote, said the discovery has caused widespread grief throughout the Cote Nation, and triggered pain for local families who are residential school survivors themselves, or victims of the inter-generational trauma that residential schools inflicted. The community has been in mourning since the discovery was announced and the school flags have remained at half-mast.

The entire Cote First Nation population and school staff were invited to the ceremony, which began with Elder-led prayers, speeches and drumming, included the ringing of a bell 215 times, plus one. Cote said the additional ring was in honour of the victims from other residential school sites that have yet to be found.