Community raises awareness for Indigenous children buried in unmarked Canadian graves

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A march took place in Downtown Duluth Sunday to raise awareness for Indigenous children who died while attending residential schools in Canada and were buried in unmarked graves.

“It’s important that the whole world can hear us now and they are aware of what happened to us,” Airlea Defoe, organizer said

The march came after the bodies of several hundred Indigenous children were discovered at one of the largest residential schools in Canada in May.

A report by a Truth and Reconciliation Commission detailed harsh mistreatment inflicted on Indigenous children at the institutions.

“This is something that we’ve all known,” Defoe said. “We’ve had grandparents, aunts, uncles—even some people’s parents have been in the residential schools themselves, so it’s all something that’s really close and personal for us.”

Before the march, a moment of silence was held for the hundreds of children who lost their lives, followed by a song.

Community members also made a public art display using orange washable paint along the steps and front door of City Hall in the children’s memory. Orange is the color associated with supporting Indigenous children.

Defoe hopes raising awareness will provide the community the closure they need, as well as, prevent anything like this from happening in the future.

“We have the power to make the change that we need to make,” Defoe said.