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St. Michael's Indian Residential School Decommissioning Ceremony

St. Michael's Indian Residential School Decommissioning Ceremony

On February 18th, 2015 survivors, honoured guests and dignitaries will come together to witness the symbolic decommission of the St. Michael's Indian Residential School. The decommissioning of the formidable brick building that dominates the harbour of Alert Bay marks the end of a very dark and painful period in history.

Through song, ceremony and ultimately celebration, it is hoped the path forward is illuminated with optimism and continued healing for the survivors of St. Michael's Indian Residential School, and for their families.


"Rising Up, Together"
Alert Bay, BC


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

9:00 am - 5:45 pm
Bill's Pool Hall

  • Meet & Greet, Registration & Billeting

  • Light snack provided

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

'Namgis Big House Roast Beef dinner

  • Registration & Billeting

  • Feast Song

7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

  • Cultural Sharing

St. Michael's Indian Residential School in Alert Bay - 2015 - just prior to demolition

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

7:00 am - 9:00 am

  • Continental Breakfast, 'Namgis Big House Breakfast Room

10:00 am - 12:00 pm
I'tustogalis Ceremony at St. Michael's Indian Residential School

  • Welcome: 'Namgis Chief Debra Hanuse
  • Survivors' Prayer: Pauline Alfred
  • Speakers: Oldest and Intergenerational Survivor
  • Anglican Church Representative
  • One Moment of Silence for Those Who Never Returned Back to Their Homelands
  • Lighting of Sacred Flame
  • Acknowledging and releasing the Pain & Anger: Throwing of Stones at St. Michael's Indian Residential School
  • Into the Light: Candle Light Ceremony
  • Spiritual Messaging into the Flame
  • Healing and Celebration Song

12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
I'tustolagalis "Rising Up Together" continues at 'Namgis Big House

  • Mourning Song for those Who Never Returned Back to Their Homelands
  • Burning of Food for Loved Ones
  • Brushing Off Healing Ceremony
  • Gifting
  • Celebration Song

1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

  • Seafood Gala at Big House
  • Feast Song

2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Honourable Speakers

  • Minister of Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development: Bernard Valcourt
  • AFN Grand Chief: Perry Bellegarde
  • BC AFN Jody Wilson-Raybould
  • Memories Panel: Three Survivors
  • First Nation Summit: Grand Chief Ed John
  • UBCIC: Chief Bob Chamberlin
  • RDG Aboriginal Affairs & Northern Development: Eric Magnusson
  • Healers Speakers List - Contemporary & Traditional TBA
  • Reconciliation Canada presentation: Karen Joseph
  • Questions & Answers

5:00 pm
Helium balloons released outside the Big House

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Dinner at the 'Namgis Big House

  • Soup & Indian bread/bannock
  • Feast Song

7:00 pm onwards

  • Talent Night
  • Visitors and Guests

Frequently asked questions:

What is the main reason for demolition?

It is being demolished because it is unsafe. People were going inside and on the roof. It was very dangerous, so it is coming down.

Will it be completely demolished on February 18, 2015?

No. The demolition will occur over a few months. There is asbestos and lead paint and other items that need to be attended to before everything is taken down in stages. The survivors are in discussion with the contractor to arrange for some portion of the front entrance to be taken down on the 18th.

In our Indigenous Awareness and Working Effectively with Indigenous Peoples® training, we offer insight into the effects of Indian Residential Schools and how that attempt at assimilation continues to have an intergenerational impact on Indigenous Peoples in Canada.

We offer some insights on the use of Indian and other Indian Residential School terminology in this free eBook.

Featured photo: Graffiti found at St. Michael's Photo: Bob Joseph

Sign up for our Working Effectively With Indigenous Peoples Training
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