By Michael Boriero
Dozens gathered at Square Queen in Lennoxville Monday evening to participate in a silent march for National Indigenous Peoples Day, despite an ominous weather forecast calling for thunderstorms, heavy rain, and strong winds.
This year marked the 25th anniversary of National Indigenous Peoples Day. It was created in 1996 to recognize and celebrate the cultures and contributions of the First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Indigenous peoples of Canada. It also often coincides with the summer solstice.
The community event was organized by Bishop’s University’s Indigenous Cultural Alliance (ICA). Shawna Jerome, an ICA member, told The Record she was not certain how many people would show up due to the rain. The sun broke through just in time, though.
“I don’t know exactly what it means, but it definitely means something […] the signs were with us,” Jerome, Mi’kmaq from Gesgapegiag, said. “Just Mother Nature trying to rehydrate the land, maybe shedding a couple tears before we came here.”
She took a few minutes to speak to the crowd before leading the silent march towards Bishop’s University. Jerome set up a memorial in the quad, collecting shoes to honour the 215 children recently discovered in unmarked graves near a residential school in British Columbia.
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