Over a hundred people gathered in Kenora to pay their respects and honour the lives lost at Residential Schools and the survivors.

The group started the morning under Kenora's Whitecap Pavilion and walked to the site of the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School on Airport Road.

"With all the new finds it has been retraumatizing our people and opening wounds that were slowing healing," said Jolene "Jo" Fontaine, one of the organizers of the event.

Copenace FontaineEvent organizers Ida Copenace and Jolene "Jo" Fontaine.

"We felt this would be a good way to honour the survivors as well. To show each other support that we can heal and get through this together as a community," Fontaine continued.

The morning started with a prayer from an Elder and smudging under the Whitecap Pavilion. Prior to the walk beginning, each person in attendance was given a tobacco tie to burn in a sacred fire burning at the site of the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School.

sacred fireSomeone dropping a tobacco tie into the sacred fire.

"I really believe that the people in Kenora, and all over, need to be educated as to what really happened with the residential school era," said Ida Copenace, another organizer and a 60's scoop survivor. 

"We're going to be doing this for many, many years to come. The residential school itself was around for many years, so it's going to take at least that [long] to start healing. People are all at different levels of their healing process, and it's just going to continue," Copenace continued.

Copenace adds that the more knowledge Canadians have about Residential Schools will only help us move in the right direction, together.

The walk ended at the site of the Cecilia Jeffrey Residential School, where traditional drummers performed a number of songs and an Elder spoke about his experiences in the Residential School system.

Group walking on airport road

Fontaine and Copenace thanked everyone for coming out to the walk and the various organizations that made the walk possible.