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Public Invitation to Sto:lo Commemoration Ceremonies at St. Mary’s September 29 and 30 and October 1

Mission – Funeral and memorial services are scheduled for the 158 missing Stó:lō and Indigenous children and 20 unmarked graves and burials of students of the former St. Mary’s Residential School sites in Mission. The ceremonies will be held on Friday, September 29th, Saturday September 30th, and Sunday, October 1 at the former site of the Old St Mary’s Residential School at the Fraser River Heritage Park at 7494 Mary St in Mission.

The main request is that no photos, video recordings or depictions of any kind are taken during the ceremonies.

From their media releae:

“It is with a heavy heart that we share an invitation to residential school survivors, their families and communities, community partners, neighbours and allies to witness a weaving of funeral and memorial ceremonies for the missing children and the unmarked graves and burials of the children who attended the St. Mary’s Residential School in Mission,” the website reads.

The cultural protocols for the ceremonies include no photos, videos, drawings, recordings or anything that depicts the ceremony. The team urges attendees to arrive early and plan to stay for the entirety of the ceremonies, which has no allotted end time. Those in attendance are also advised to stay seated throughout the ceremonies happening on the floor.

“​There are no words that capture the pain and devastation that the children, survivors of residential schools and their families have experienced. The ceremonies are a step towards healing. We hope to bring a sense of dignity and respect for the children’s spirits who have been waiting and we hope this brings a sense of peace for survivors of residential schools.”

For a full list of cultural protocols and an agenda for the ceremonies, visit the Stó:lo Commemoration website at xyólhmetyesyéwiqwélh.com.

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