Hear My Voice: Survivor Stories From Residential School & Canada's Genocide *Rush Seating Only

Hear My Voice: Survivor Stories From Residential School & Canada's Genocide

4:00pm - Sunday, Jun 27, 2021

Hear My Voice: Survivor Stories From Residential School & Canada's Genocide

Sunday, June 27
Doors 12:30 | Event 1:00 pm

Advance tickets available / sliding scale donation
*Sorry, Rio Theatre Groupons and passes n/a for this event. Advance tickets encouraged to ensure seating.

Please note: Survivor stories involve very honest, painful, and sometimes graphic accounts of personal experience. Bearing witness to Survivor stories can include graphic testimony and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

Following the tragic, horrific findings of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Residential School earlier this month, a powerful grassroots vigil and memorial took hold on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

215 pairs of children’s shoes were placed there in honour of the missing children. Upon hearing the news, local artist Tamara Bell (Haida Nation) said, "I was so triggered and heartbroken and completely taken aback, because I know of this in so many instances.” The next day, Bell woke up early, cried, composed herself, and came up with a plan: She put out a call to her network of Indigenous friends to help organize an installation, settling on shoes as a visual metaphor to provide both impact and scope.

The spontaneous tribute quickly became a meeting point for local Indigenous people, including survivors and children of survivors, while also attracting the attention of international media, passers-by, and others who sought it out to pay their respects to the missing and murdered.

The visual impact of the curated display can't be understated, and for some time remained at the steps of the VAG, serving as a powerful backdrop to local Indigenous artists, speakers, activists and healers who shared their own personal, powerful journeys and stories with the public. For those who chose to stay and listen, it was a chance to hear profound, painful truths and testimonies from people whose experiences are, so often, neither heard nor validated by society.

In that same spirit of learning, listening, connection, healing and understanding, Bell is guiding and curating Hear My Voice at the Rio Theatre. The event will feature survivor accounts from Squamish Elder Bob Baker’s experience at Kamloops Residential School, and actor Ray G. Thunderchild, who attended residential day school.

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