About 790 Nelson kids took part in the Children’s Heartbeat Parade for Reconciliation on Friday.
They attended ceremonies at Trafalgar Middle School, then walked to the Capitol Theatre where they sang and drummed Indigenous songs, with Indigenous elders there to witness them.
“This is good because they are all learning how to be together and how to keep a simple beat together,” said Robert Watt of the Sinixt Nation.
“They are honouring our people,” he said. “If that would have happened all along we would not be bothered by so many issues. We would have had a say-so on our rivers and fisheries. It makes me feel good to see kids learning about this.”
The parade included 566 Trafalgar students plus 20 from Rosemont Elementary and 205 from South Nelson Elementary. September 30 is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Melissa Dorey, who described herself as Mi’kmaq and French Canadian, drummed with Watt and the students. She said the parade made her feel hopeful.
“It makes me feel good for our future. I think we have a lot of work to do still and a long way to go, but I think we are headed in the right direction.”
From the Capitol Theatre the parade proceeded downtown and then along Baker Street.
“The sea of orange is really uplifting for me and our school, and I think for our community,” said Trafalgar’s principal Tim Mushumanski. “The sun is out and the kids are happy. Reconciliation is at the heart of what we should be doing, and this is a perfect act of reconciliation.”