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Ottawa City Hall to host sacred fire in honour of Indigenous children

Anyone planning on attending the sacred fire is asked to be mindful of sacred fire protocol.
2019-08-16 ottawa city hall summer JP2
Ottawa City Hall, August 2019. Photo/ Jenn Pritchard

The City of Ottawa is getting set to host a sacred fire to honour Indigenous children in the wake of another massive unmarked grave found at a Canadian residential school site.

With the support of the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, the fire will take place on June 28 at City Hall's Marion Dewar Plaza.

The city says this will be a place for Indigenous healing, for people to come together or to approach alone, to pray, to reflect, to make offerings and to connect with each other and beyond. The sacred fire will begin with a ceremony held by the Elders at sunrise and will run until approximately 1 p.m.

The Cowessess First Nation discovered 751 unmarked graves near the former Marieval Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan on Wednesday, June 23, after the discoveries of unmarked graves in Brandon, Manitoba and Kamloops, British Columbia. 

The City of Ottawa says it is home to many urban Indigenous residents, and it is acknowledging that the impact of these discoveries can be traumatic to the local community.

On June 24, the flags at all city facilities were lowered at half-mast following the announcement from the Cowessess First Nation, to honour Indigenous children.

Anyone planning on attending the sacred fire is asked to be mindful of sacred fire protocol, such as these listed on the University College of the North website, or these from Ontario Aboriginal Housing.

The city is also asking residents to continue to adhere to public health measures such as physical distancing and mask wearing.

Mike Vlasveld

About the Author: Mike Vlasveld

Mike Vlasveld, Digital Editor, CityNews Ottawa & the Valley
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