A fundraiser intended to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential school for children’s remains topped $100,000 Friday (June 4). Pictured is a church at Chawathil First Nation on Highway 1, on May 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

A fundraiser intended to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential school for children’s remains topped $100,000 Friday (June 4). Pictured is a church at Chawathil First Nation on Highway 1, on May 31, 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

Fundraiser to search more B.C. residential schools tops $100,000

Indigenous leaders hope to use radar technology to search for lost children on Vancouver Island

A fundraiser created to fund the search of Vancouver Island’s five residential schools for the remains of lost Indigenous children has more than quadrupled its original goal.

Started Tuesday (June 1) by local Indigenous leaders Steve Sxwithul’txw, Tom LaFortune and Michelle Mundy, the fund aimed to raise $25,000 to purchase one ground-penetrating radar unit such as the one used to find the mass grave of 215 children at the Kamloops Residential School. As of Friday morning, the campaign had raised over $100,000.

“It just gives us the ability to purchase more of those units,” Sxwithul’txw told Black Press Media.

The equipment sends signals into the soil and can detect if it has been disturbed, as it would have been to dig graves.

READ ALSO: Remains of 215 children found at former B.C. residential school an ‘unthinkable loss’

Sxwithul’txw said he has found a lot of anger, hurt and sorrow in those who have posted comments on the GoFundMe page.

One person wrote: “I am Aboriginal. My entire life I was teased, mocked and treated differently because of who I am and where I come from. It disgusts me that Canada’s government and many people are still treated poorly because of our heritage.”

Wrote another: “As a mother of three Metis (Cree), my children would have been taken, tortured and/or killed. This is for all the babies and children burned, killed or tortured and the ripple of pain of blood memories. Reconciliation is here and voice are no longer silenced! We hear your little ones … gone but never forgotten.”

Sxwithul’txw said he was heartened to see many other donor comments came from people who appeared to be non-Indigenous and were expressing their allyship. Comments include apologies, sympathy and calls to do better.

In an earlier interview, Sxwithul’txw said he thinks the next couple of years are going to be “country changing.”

READ ALSO: Indigenous leaders want Vancouver Island residential schools searched for victims

“I think we’re seeing the cusp of something much, much bigger and the realization that Canada has failed First Nations in more than one way – they’ve taken our lives,” he said.

Right now, Sxwithul’txw, LaFortune and Mundy are talking with First Nations from around the Island to respect their wishes and determine if and how they can search the residential school sites.

The fundraiser, called Find Our Lost Children, can be found at gofundme.com.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ ALSO: Sooke School District responds to heartbreak of residential schools with learning opportunities


Do you have a story tip? Email: jane.skrypnek@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Greater VictoriaIndigenousresidential schoolsvancouverisland

Just Posted

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

Work has begun on the $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp. File photo
Work begins on Slocan Valley fibre-optic line

The $10-million, 120-kilometre fibre-optic line runs from Playmor Junction to north of Nakusp

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Okanagan Lake (File photo)
Thompson-Okanagan ready to welcome back tourists

The Thompson-Okanagan Tourism Association expects this summer to be a busy one

Jade Osecki leading a Fridays for Future climate march in Nelson in 2020. Photo: Submitted
Nelson Grade 12 student Jade Osecki wins Suzy Hamilton Award

Carolyn Schramm was also honoured in this year’s environmental award for West Kootenay women

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Kimberly Bussiere and other laid-off employees of Casino Nanaimo have launched a class-action lawsuit against the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
B.C. casino workers laid off during pandemic launch class-action lawsuit

Notice of civil claim filed in Supreme Court of B.C. in Nanaimo against Great Canadian Gaming

A Photo from Sept. 2020, when First Nations and wild salmon advocates took to the streets in Campbell River to protest against open-pen fish farms in B.C.’s waters. On Dec. 17, federal fisheries minister Bernadette Jordan announced her decision to phase out 19 fish farms from Discovery Islands. Cermaq’s application to extend leases and transfer smolts was denied. (Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror)
Feds deny B.C.’s Discovery Island fish farm application to restock

Transfer of 1.5 million juvenile salmon, licence extension denied as farms phased out

John Kromhoff with some of the many birthday cards he received from ‘pretty near every place in the world’ after the family of the Langley centenarian let it be known that he wasn’t expecting many cards for his 100th birthday. (Special to Langley Advance Times)
Cards from all over the world flood in for B.C. man’s 100th birthday

An online invitation by his family produced a flood of cards to mark his 100th birthday

FILE – Nurse Iciar Bercian prepares a shot at a vaccine clinic for the homeless in Calgary, Alta., Wednesday, June 2, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
B.C. scientists to study effectiveness of COVID vaccines in people with HIV

People living with HIV often require higher doses of other vaccines

A 50-year-old woman lost control of her vehicle Tuesday, June 15, crashing through a West Vancouver school fence that surrounds playing children. (West Vancouver Police)
Driver ticketed for speeding near B.C. school crashes into playground fence days later

‘It’s an absolute miracle that nobody was injured,’ says Const. Kevin Goodmurphy

Dr. Réka Gustafson, who is British Columbia’s deputy provincial health officer, speaks during a news conference in Vancouver on April 8, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. public health officials prepare to manage COVID-19 differently in the future

Flu-like? Health officials anticipate shift from pandemic to communicable disease control strategies

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Most Read