Seneca Gaming Corp. plans ‘Every Child Matters’ walk in honor of victims, survivors of indigenous residential schools

Image submitted on behalf of Seneca Gaming Corp.

Image submitted on behalf of Seneca Gaming Corp.

Fri 23 Sep 2022 07:45 hrs

Community Invited to Participate September 30 in Niagara Falls

Seneca Gaming Corp. This Friday, September 30, is holding its second annual “Every Child Matters” walk in downtown Niagara Falls, joining communities across the U.S. and Canada in “a growing effort to bring understanding, awareness, and healing for the abuse facing generations indigenous children in residential schools operating in both countries.”

A press release said: “Last year, hundreds of hikers in orange T-shirts took part in the walk, demonstrating visible and strong support, just weeks after the remains of more than 1,000 victims were found at multiple former residential schools. Canada.”

Seneca Gaming Corp. President and CEO Kevin Nephew, a member of the Seneca Nation, said: “No one — and certainly not a child — should ever face hatred and anger because of who they are, where they come from, and what they look like. That’s why it was so moving to see our running route literally turning orange last year.It gave us a real sense of community and a very powerful message of ‘We are here with you and we are standing by your side.’ ”

Participants in this year’s walk will gather at 5:30 PM in Seneca Square, in front of the Fourth Street entrance of Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino. During the opening speeches, event leaders take the time to acknowledge any survivors of the Indian residential school. At 6:15 PM, walkers will begin along the approximately one-mile walking trail, pausing for a moment of silence at Prospect Point, along with a Healing Song sung by Haudenosaunee singers. They return to the casino, where there are closing remarks and a mini-social gathering with Haudenosaunee singers and dancers. As part of the day’s recognition, Niagara Falls and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino will both be lit in orange.

The press release continued: “From the 1800s and well into the 1990s, tens of thousands of Native American children were forced to attend residential schools in the United States and Canada, where they were systematically stripped of their names, traditional language, and culture. , and where they were often the victims of physical abuse. Thousands of children have died in these schools.The deaths of hundreds – if not thousands – more are believed to have never been documented.

Earlier this year, the United States Department of the Interior, led by Secretary Deb Haaland, the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position, released its first report of the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, which was created to investigate the federal government. and to document. role in the forced ‘assimilation’ of Native American children. The report identified 408 schools, operating in 431 locations in 37 states, under the direction and/or financial support of the federal government.”

Seneca Gaming Corp. President Dr. Lori Quigley is an educator who has done extensive research and written journal articles on the impact and intergenerational trauma of Indian residential schools. She said: “Indigenous communities have been shaped and scarred for generations by the tragedies of the residential school era.

“We’re talking about children – some who never came home; others, now gone, who carried their pain with them for the rest of their lives; and many who still carry their pain with them today. It’s unimaginable, yet all too real. Their pain and their experience must be brought to a better light.

“Just as importantly, the survivors and the generations of families and communities still feeling the effects of the residential schools deserve healing and community support.”

In addition to Nephew and Quigley, speakers at the event will include author and registered social worker Dawn Hill, a member of the Mohawk Nation of the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory; Mark A. Montour, New York State Supreme Court Justice, an enrolled member of the St. Regis Mohawk Nation, and the first Native American ever elected to a New York judicial position; and Buffalo Sabers alumni Cody McCormick, an Ojibway member of the Thames First Nation.

The press release added: “For years, Orange Shirt Day has been seen as a way to educate and promote awareness of the impact that Indigenous residential schools had on Indigenous people and communities. September 30 is now a federal legal holiday in Canada that known as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“The ‘Every Child Matters’ walk in Niagara Falls coincides with a number of other awareness events taking place in the region. The Seneca Nation holds a healing ceremony and walk for Nation members in the Cattaraugus Territory in Irving, where the Thomas Indian School operated from 1855-1956. Several events are also scheduled throughout the week in Ontario.

“No matter where you are on September 30, we ask everyone to please wear orange as an outward sign of remembrance of the victims and support for the survivors and communities still struggling with the pain and loss being fostered.” through residential schools,” Seneca Nation President Matthew Pagels said. “The disintegration of indigenous languages, customs and communities, along with the pressures caused by family structures, have taken generations. The promise of prematurely ended futures will forever remain unspoken. We will walk together to give voice to their experience and help bear their pain.”

Seneca Gaming Corp. is a wholly owned, tribal chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation of Indians, which operates the Nation’s Class III casino gaming properties. For more information, visit SenecaGamingCorporation.com.

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