Elders across nine nations are asking the country to come together in prayer on Sunday to honour those who were both lost to and survived residential schools in Canada.
Turtle Lodge, an international centre for Indigenous education and wellness, is asking to be joined on Sunday in prayer for the 215 children that were found buried at Kamloops Residential School last week. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is joining Turtle Lodge in this call. They are also asking for prayers for residential school survivors and their families.
"Until the time comes when we can meet in our Sacred Lodges again, we ask that you join us this Sunday, June 6, as we lift our Pipes, light our Sacred Fires, sing our traditional Songs, smudge, offer our Sacred Tobacco, and offer prayers in our own traditions in a collective way," Turtle Lodge writes in a statement.
Elder Nii Gaani Aki Inini, Dr. Dave Courchene in his English name, says they are welcoming prayers from all spiritualities.
"This effort is in response to many calls from the people who have been turning to the knowledge keepers across the country for direction and spiritual guidance in light of recent news," he says.
They are bringing people together, at a distance, to focus on these prayers in the traditional ways of using pipes, drums, and other sacred tools to heal.
"It is our hope and prayer that this will allow for greater healing and a new relationship to be formed based on love and kindness."
They are hoping to host an in-person healing ceremony in July at Turtle Lodge to provide further healing and spiritual guide.