TROY FLEECE / Regina Leader-Post The grand march of the The Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS) Powwow which was held beside the Cowessess Gas and Grocery Store just east of Regina. After walking more than 20 kilometres to bring the spirits of children buried in unmarked graves, a group of nine people was welcomed with drums and singing into the Regina Indian Industrial School Powwow.Under sunny skies and a massive tent, First Nations from across Treaty 4 territory — including Ochapowace, Kahkewistahaw and Zagime — gathered on Cowessess First Nations’ urban land southeast of Regina on Saturday afternoon.Dancers — both young and old — took to the circle in the middle of the tent in intricate and brightly coloured ceremonial regalia, commemorating the children lying in unmarked graves at the Regina Indian Industrial School (RIIS) site.But for Chief Cadmus Delorme, and the others who walked with him, the event started much earlier.Around 9 a.m. the group set off on foot from the RIIS gravesite just west of the city, walking more than 20 kilometres in four hours to reach the powwow. Four kokums (grandmothers) also walked the entire distance, and Delorme said when his strength was flagging toward the end, he looked to those women and felt stronger.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.Delorme explained that the walk was to bring the spirits of the children buried in the RIIS gravesite to the event so they could heal as well.“The purpose of this is for us to all heal collectively on Treaty 4, so what we did is we walked those spirits here,” he said.“We wanted to heal a little bit by walking those spirits to a powwow that’s in Regina, so this powwow is for the Regina people, but at the same time the Regina Indian Industrial School has some closure.” The RIIS operated between 1891 and 1910, and it is not known how many students died there.Glenn Pelletier, one of the event organizers and a member of Cowessess First Nation, is a residential school survivor. He attended the Lebret Indian Industrial Residential School for two years.A traditional First Nations dancer himself, Pelletier said dancing at a powwow like this also helps him heal.“We can’t dwell on that hurt or that pain. We have to go above it … To dance and then see everybody here together, it just lifts the heart,” he said.“It’s really important that we work together collectively and that we do things together to strengthen who we are, what we are and what we want to be.”This is the second annual Regina Indian Industrial School [email protected]

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