Three Hills roadside memorial dedicated to unidentified First Nations children

Paul and Ruth Brown, July 1, at the Three Hills memorial they coordinated for the 215 unidentified residential school children who died at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Visitors to the site were encouraged to take home a cut-out. ECA Review/D. Nadeau
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Paul and Ruth Brown, July 1, at the Three Hills memorial they coordinated for the 215 unidentified residential school children who died at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Visitors to the site were encouraged to take home a cut-out. ECA Review/D. Nadeau

A member of the Kluskus band, Quesnel, BC and long-time Three Hills resident Ruth Brown felt she had to do something in light of recurring news reports about unmarked graves for residential school children.

The soft-spoken 42-year-old’s solution was to set up a Canada Day roadside memorial in Three Hills for the 215 unidentified children who died while at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“More than a dozen friends,” she said, “helped prepare and mount the 215 cutouts on stakes. It’s not a protest; it’s more a statement, a memorial, a visual reminder.”

Brown, a four-year veteran of the Canadian Army Reserve, said her birth parents and many other relatives were directly affected by the residential school system, “so what we are doing here is to help heal hidden anger. This is a journey, a necessary part of healing. We need to mourn with those who mourn.”

The memorial, located on Hwy 583 in the middle of Three Hills, attracted considerable attention, ranging from horn honking, visitors, photographers, and one First Nations woman who “just had to stop to express her thanks and appreciation”.

 

David Nadeau

ECA Review

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