The Bear Butte Conference has planned a prayer vigil for the 215 children that were found at the Kamloops Indian School. The service will take place June 21 at 7:00 p.m. Kamloop time (8 pm MST/9 pm CST) in accordance with a call for unity in prayer at that time that came from the indigenous community.
The event will be hosted at Woyatan Lutheran Church (522 Anamosa, North Rapid City) and Live-streamed on the South Dakota Synod Facebook page.
You can also watch the live stream in the video player below.
All who desire to remember and grief this loss are welcome.
The initiative was led by Jon Old Horse of Woyatan along with Pastors Erik Thone, Sonja Pilman, Larry Peterson, and Dan Johnson. The base liturgy is actually the ELW funeral liturgy. The group decided: “In our tradition, this is how we honor lives that we value so this is how we will honor these children.” For Jon and the rest of us, it was important to show up as the church since it was the church that perpetuated this violence. It was equally important for us that the focus be on honoring the children not on the guilt or repentance of white people (you’ll notice that there is a thanksgiving for the children and not a confession). The boarding school era is a source of ongoing trauma for the Native population that is aggravated by the perceived indifference and lack of awareness of the issue. Our hope for this vigil is, thus, that it will honor the children by bringing awareness to their lives and those of the countless others who were lost during this period. To that end, we ask that you would help spread awareness about the vigil as well as the story of Kamloops and the boarding school era.