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The following stories, videos, and audio contains material about the harmful legacy of residential schools and may cause trauma. If you need support, please contact the 24-hour Residential School Crisis Line at 1.866.925.4419.

Demolished Former Lower Post Residential School—First Photos

June 30, 2021

Initial photos of the former Lower Post Residential School demolition. See the Daylu Dena Council or Photo Gallery | Events pages for more photos.

Click on image to open in lightbox/pause slideshow.

Healing – Interview with DDC’s Harlan Schilling. CHEK | Our Native Land

CHEK | Our Native Land

July 19, 2021 | Tchadas Leo

Daylu Dena Council’s Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling was recently interviewed by CHEK’s Our Native Land‘s Tchadas Leo regarding the Lower Post residential school’s recent ceremonial and complete demolition – the event, how it unfolded, and the emotions that followed.

Lower Post Holds Ceremonial Demolition of its Residential School. Yukon News

Yukon News

July 7, 2021 | John Tonin

Kooxuhan Georgina Sydney shares her message she wrote on a piece of the residential school before tossing it into the fire on June 30. Photo by John Tonin/Yukon News

After a decades-long fight, the former residential school in Lower Post is being torn to the ground.

On June 30, the 46th anniversary of the school’s closure, a ceremonial demolition and ground-blessing ceremony was witnessed by the Kaska Nation and Indigenous people from across the North.

Deputy Chief of the Daylu Dena Council Harlan Schilling made clear before the ceremonies began that the day wasn’t a sad one, instead, it was a joyous day.

“This is a happy day,” said Schilling. “It’s been a battle for over 35 years that our community has been fighting and advocating to get rid of this building.

“This day is for them. Not just our community, but all the survivors that went to this school.”

It was a happy day, but also a day to acknowledge the truth and to heal.

“For every individual, (today) is what they need for themselves,” said Schilling. “For me personally, this building has been there my entire life. My daughter is two, and I hope she never remembers what this building was.” …

Inside the Ceremonial Demolition of B.C.’s Lower Post Residential School. CBC News

CBC News | North • Photos

July 3, 2021

The school’s last standing building was partially torn down and burned on Wednesday

Kaska Drummers during Wednesday’s ceremonial demolition. Photo from the Government of Yukon

From 1951 to 1975, the children of the Indigenous Nations of Yukon and northern British Columbia were stolen from their families and sent to the residential school in Lower Post, a Kaska Dena community in B.C. at the Yukon border.

The Lower Post residential school was run by the Catholic Church. It was a place of terror and desperate loneliness, and has been a source of trauma and painful memories ever since.

To anyone who has ever visited the community of Lower Post, the fear, anger and sadness people feel about the building is palpable. For some elders in the community, having to use it as a band office has meant returning to the very rooms where they were abused by school officials, and the Daylu Dena Council and many Kaska leaders — past and present — have, for decades, called for the destruction of the building.

This past week, representatives from the governments of B.C., Yukon and Canada joined leaders from the Daylu Dena Council and many neighbouring northern Nations and survivors, to witness the final demolition of the remnants of the school building. The structure was razed and the grounds blessed in ceremony to prepare for a new multi-purpose cultural centre — a space for self-government meetings, for social and cultural gatherings and a place for community members to visit with one another, and to find peace and healing.

The long-term effects of residential schools cannot be overstated. …”

Dave Porter, Justin Trudeau and John Horgan: Lower Post Residential School Was a Place of Terror and Desperate Loneliness. Vancouver Sun

Vancouver Sun | Opinion / Op-Ed

July 2, 2021 | Dave Porter • Justin Trudeau and John Horgan

Opinion: For the community, the demolition of the building this week offers a powerful symbol of hope for the future and the promise and possibilities of reconciliation

This past week the Lower Post residential school building, a source of trauma and painful memories, was demolished and the grounds blessed in ceremony to prepare for a new multi-purpose cultural centre — a space for self-government meetings, for social and cultural gatherings. Photo by Manu Keggenhoff / PNG

From 1951 to 1975, the children of the Indigenous Nations of Yukon and northern British Columbia were stolen from their families and sent to the residential school in Lower Post, a Kaska Dena community in B.C. at the Yukon border.

The Lower Post residential school was run by the Catholic Church. It was a place of terror and desperate loneliness, and has been a source of trauma and painful memories ever since.

To anyone who has ever visited the community of Lower Post, the fear, anger and sadness people feel about the building is palpable. For some elders in the community, having to use it as a band office has meant returning to the very rooms where they were abused by school officials, and the Daylu Dena Council and many Kaska leaders — past and present — have, for decades, called for the destruction of the building.

This past week, representatives from the governments of B.C., Yukon and Canada joined leaders from the Daylu Dena Council and many neighbouring northern Nations and survivors, to witness the final demolition of the remnants of the school building. The structure was razed and the grounds blessed in ceremony to prepare for a new multi-purpose cultural centre — a space for self-government meetings, for social and cultural gatherings and a place for community members to visit with one another, and to find peace and healing.

The long-term effects of residential schools cannot be overstated. …”

Statement by Minister Bennett and Minister Miller on Today’s Gathering in Lower Post, British Columbia. Cision

Cision | Newswire

June 30, 2021 | Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Taking care: We recognize that this statement comes at a time that is difficult for many and that our efforts to honour victims and families may act as an unwelcome reminder to those who have suffered hardships through generations of government policies that were harmful to Indigenous Peoples. A support line is available to former residential school students and their families for support, emotional and crisis referral services. You can also find information on how to obtain other health supports from the Government of Canada.

Please call the Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 if you or someone you know is triggered while reading this.

We encourage all those who need some support at this time to reach out and know that support is always there for you through the Hope for Wellness Help Line at 1-855-242-3310 (toll-free) or the online chat at hopeforwellness.ca, open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

OTTAWA, ONJune 30, 2021 /CNW/ – The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and the Honourable Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services Canada, issued the following statement regarding ceremonies held today at the site of the former Lower Post residential school:

“Today, 46 years to the day after the former residential school closed, the Daylu Dena Council held an important gathering where Survivors shared their experiences at the Lower Post residential school. Those in attendance bore witness to this truth-telling and watched a ceremonial demolition of the school, removing a constant reminder of a very painful past. By removing this painful reminder, the community can look toward the future in anticipation of a new multi-purpose building where everyone feels safe and welcomed.

We want to acknowledge Daylu Dena Council’s longstanding efforts to have the former residential school demolished in order to build a new facility—one designed around community needs and that supports healing, where the Kaska Dena community can gather, celebrate and learn. Canada is honoured to work in collaboration with Daylu Dena Council and the Province of British Columbia to support these efforts.

Today’s ceremony comes during a deeply emotional time for Indigenous Peoples, …”

After a Decades-Long Fight, the Last Piece of the Lower Post Residential School is Set to Come Down. CBC Radio Interview with DDC Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling

CBC Radio | Yukon Morning with Elyn Jones

June 30, 2021 | Elyn Jones

People from the Yukon , B.C., the Kaska Nation in particular, and Indigenous peoples from across the north are coming together to witness the ceremonial demolition of the Lower Post Residential School in northern B.C. Daylu Dena Council Deputy Chief Harlan Schilling spoke with Elyn Jones about what’s planned.  …

After a Decades-Long Fight, the Last Piece of this B.C. Residential School is Coming Down. CBC North

CBC News | North

June 30, 2021 | CBC News with files from Vincent Bonnay, Leonard Linklater, Elyn Jones, Jane Sponagle, and Carolina de Ryk

‘They were monsters,’ says survivor of her time at Lower Post residential school

Mary Caesar, shown with paintings reflecting her time in the residential school system. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Forty-six years to the day after the Lower Post residential school in northern British Columbia closed its doors, the final reminder of it is set to be torn down.

Deputy chief of the Daylu Dena Council, Harlan Schilling, says that after decades of advocating to have the last standing building removed, he’s expecting to find himself speechless when it’s finally gone.

“It’s been something that our elders and our community has been fighting for for years,” Schilling told CBC News.

Politicians, including B.C. Premier John Horgan and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver, as well as residential school survivors and their families and supporters are making the trek to the small community, located near the confluence of the Dease and Liard Rivers a few dozen kilometres south of the Yukon border.  …

Residential Schools: Survivors Pushed for Decades for Northern B.C. Building be Demolished. CTV News

CTV News | Vancouver

June 30, 2021 | Brenna Owen, The Canadian Press

Survivors of a residential school in northern British Columbia have given the community strength and courage to keep pushing in a decades-long fight to demolish the building, says the deputy chief of the Daylu Dena Council.

“(Today) and every day is for them,” Harlan Schilling said in an interview ahead of a gathering Wednesday to mark the demolition of the former school in Lower Post, a community of about 175 people near the Yukon boundary.

Continuing the fight to tear down the building where children suffered abuse has been a message passed from chief to chief for nearly 40 years, Schilling said. …

Lower Post Residential School Ceremonial Demolition and Ground Blessing Ceremony for New Multi-Purpose Cultural Centre. News Release

Daylu Dena Council & Liard First Nation

June 30, 2021

Read the recent News Release from Daylu Dena Council and Liard First Nation about the former Lower Post Residential School ceremonial demolition and ground-blessing ceremony. Interested in more? Check out the KDC Press Releases archive.

From CBC:

Support is available for anyone affected by the effects of residential schools, and those who are triggered by the latest reports.

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society (IRSSS) can be contacted toll-free at 1‑800‑721‑0066.

A national Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for former students and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1‑866‑925‑4419.

The NWT Help Line offers free support to residents of the Northwest Territories, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is 100% free and confidential. The NWT Help Line also has an option for follow-up calls. Residents can call the help line at 1‑800‑661‑0844.

In Nunavut, the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line is open 24 hours a day at 1‑800‑265‑3333. People are invited to call for any reason. 

In Yukon, mental health services are available to those in both Whitehorse and in rural Yukon communities through Mental Wellness and Substance Use Services. Yukoners can schedule Rapid Access Counselling supports in Whitehorse and all MWSU community hubs by calling 1‑867‑456‑3838.

PO Box 9, Lower Post, BC V0C 1W0
Phone: 250.779.3181 | Fax: 250.779.3020