NEW DENVERóAs part of its healing and reconciliation process, the provincial government is planning a memorial to the Doukhobor children incarcerated in New Denver a half-century ago.
The memorial will be located just south of the paved pullout on Hwy 6, not far from the Pavilion, formerly the residential school where the children were housed. Mayor Gary Wright says Linda Neville of the attorney-generalís office asked for councilís support for the memorial, and also asked the Doukhobor community to pick one of two concepts for the site.
One was more serious and sombre, Wright says, but the community chose a more family-oriented picnic-type facility. It will likely be built this fall.
The Sons of Freedom sect members, notorious for protesting by parading nude and burning buildings, refused to send their children to school because they believed the public education system taught about wars, battles and killing. Between 1953 and 1959, the children were seized and sent to the school to try to assimilate them into mainstream culture. The parents could visit only on the first and third Mondays of each month, and there was a chain-link fence between them.
An ombudsmanís report released in 1999 called on the government to acknowledge it was wrong and to apologize to the survivors.
by Katrine Campbell
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