Premier John Horgan has issued the following statement marking a historic day for the people of Lower Post:
“Today is a landmark day as the Daylu Dena Council, Liard First Nation, Taku River Tlingit First Nation, the Tahltan people, the Kaska people and residential school survivors from throughout the North gather to mark the start of a new era for the community of Lower Post.
“The ceremonial demolition of the Lower Post Residential School, followed by a blessing of the ground for a new cultural centre, brings together survivors, families, supporters and community members, as well as Indigenous and government leaders. We gather to witness a historic event.
“For a quarter-century, until its closing on this date in 1975, the residential school was a place of abject loneliness and unspeakable trauma for children forced apart from their families. Our hearts ache for what the children and their families suffered then, and we recognize the grievous harm caused by residential schools continues to this day. Afterwards, the building remained in use as a band office, a cruelty for those once again forced to use the facility.
“This building has been a constant source of fear, anger and sadness for residents of Lower Post. For many Elders in the community, it has meant returning to the very rooms where they were abused.
“Let us not turn away from the past, but let us honour this important moment of healing in Lower Post and continue to work together toward reconciliation and a better future for our children and grandchildren.
“The new multi-purpose cultural centre will be a place of healing and celebration for a community long in need of a safe gathering place.
“On a personal note, I wish to express my gratitude to have been invited to attend today’s ceremonies. This is a profound honour. I am humbled in the presence of such strength, resilience and perseverance. It is a day I will never forget.”