Memorial for residential school victims grows outside Calgary city hall

CALGARY — A tribute to the lives lost to Canada’s residential school system continues to expand on the steps in front of Calgary’s municipal plaza.

Children’s shoes, cards of support, flowers, smudge sticks, candles and stuffed animals line the stairs outside of city hall.

Alberta was home to the most residential schools of any province or territory, with nearly one-fifth of Canada’s 134 recognized schools located within the province’s boundaries.

The system, which began in the late 1800s and continued to operate into the 1990s, saw Indigenous children removed from their homes and families and moved to schools in an effort to have them assimilate to colonial norms and culture.

The recent discoveries of 215 unmarked burial sites near a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C. and 751 unmarked graves near a former residential school on the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan have been met with outrage, frustration and heartbreak across Canada.

The government of Alberta has since pledged $8 million to assist the search for unmarked graves and investigate undocumented deaths linked to residential schools in the province.

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