On Wednesday July 14, 2021, a passionate group youth of Ermineskin Cree Nation organized a memorial walk for those impacted by residential schools and Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG).
The walk was organized by Anna Roasting, Lenaya Roasting and Jayven Roasting.
The walk was initiated after Indigenous children’s bodies in unmarked grave sites were discovered across Canada at former residential school sites.
The group met in front of Our Lady of Seven Sorrows Church in Ermineskin and marched to the Ermineskin Cree Nation band office and then on their way to Bear Park powwow grounds.
The group of youth were escorted by local Maskwacis RCMP officers who walked alongside the group of youth. Many of the participants were holding signs with slogans such as “No Pride in Genocide.”
Anna says that we all need to find ways to coexist together.
“I want more residential school sites searched, clean water for more reserves and justice for MMIW,” said Anna.
“I want the reserves to be more proactive on social causes, helping our people and getting involved.
“I see people from other reserves taking things into their own hands without help from their bands but the priority definitely goes to clean water and searching more sites,” she said.
Anna says apologies are not enough and Canada needs to do more.
“They didn’t do anything to help us out; they even knew those bodies were out there. I think if they saw how serious we are about these things then they will surely help us out.”
Memorial walks and many other campaigns have been taking place across Canada.
In May of this year, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc Chief Rosanne Casimir announced that the remains of 215 children had been found near the city of Kamloops in southern B.C. Some of the remains are believed to be of children as young as three years old.
Then weeks later, The Cowessess First Nation discovered what is now believed to be the most substantial number of Indigenous children bodies discovered to-date in Canada: a total of 751.