The Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and the Prince George Cougars have announced several initiatives aimed at acknowledging the discovery of the remains of 215 children found at the Kamloops Residential School and to those impacted by residential schools.
The initiatives include a presentation to the Cougars players by elder Clifford Quaw, a Lejac residential school survivor, and installation of a memorial panel inside CN Centre, home of the Cougars hockey club. The Cougars players will also display an orange decal on their helmets to honour those impacted by residential schools. A new LTFN Memorial flag was also presented to Mayor Lyn Hall to be displayed inside CN Centre which is home to the Prince George Cougars hockey club.
“Today’s announcement is significant as it comes one day after Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation,” said Lheidli T’enneh Chief Dolleen Logan. “Today is about seeing reconciliation in action.”
The Cougars contacted the First Nation soon after the news broke in late May about the discovery of the remains of the 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School. Meetings were held during the summer to explore initiatives to acknowledge the 215 kids and their families, and all Indigenous people impacted by residential schools.
“Together we determined that it was important for the Cougars players and staff to learn more about residential schools and who better to learn from than elder Clifford Quaw, a survivor of the Lejac Residential School,” said Logan. “We also thought a memorial panel inside CN Centre was appropriate so that there is a visual reminder for Cougars fans and patrons of other events. We are also pleased to present Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall with our new LTFN Memorial flag to be displayed inside CN Centre which is home to the Cougars. We want to thank the Cougars for reaching out to us and today marks the official beginning the beginning of new partnership that we hope lasts many years..”
“Everyone connected with our hockey club was shaken by the news of the discovery of the remains of the 215 children found at the Kamloops Residential School,” said Andy Beesley, Vice President – Business for the Prince George Cougars. “Instead of expressing our condolences via social media we decided to reach out to our Host First Nation the Lheidli T’enneh and seek guidance on how best acknowledge the children and their families. The conversations that followed formed the basis of a partnership with the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation that we are celebrating today. Our players appreciated the opportunity to learn more about what it was like for students at the Lejac Residential School from elder Clifford Quaw. The panel mentioned by Chief Logan will serve as a permanent reminder here at CN Center of this period in Canadian history. We are pleased that we reached out to the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation for help and even more pleased that they agreed to provide us with guidance.”
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