British Columbia

Kelowna Cathedral tolling bell 1,122 times for missing and murdered women

The church bells at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kelowna, B.C. will toll 1,122 times on Sunday to commemorate every missing and murdered aboriginal woman in Canada.

Anglican Church officially apologized for its role in residential schools in 1993

The Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kelowna is taking steps towards reconciliation by marking National Aboriginal Day with a special tolling of its church bell. (CBC News)

The church bells at the Cathedral Church of St. Michael and All Angels in Kelowna, B.C. will toll 1,122 times on Sunday to commemorate every missing and murdered aboriginal woman in Canada.

It's an event intended to mark the end of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and honour National Aboriginal Day.

"The whole point of this across the country is to raise awareness of the plight of the First Nations, and particularly of the women and girls who are missing and unaccounted for," says David Crawley, a retired achbishop from the Kootenay Diocese.

"We are not actually ringing them, we are tolling them. When you ring a bell it goes 'ding dong.' When you toll a bell, it goes 'bong, bong, bong' and that's traditionally what's done at the time of a death."

Recognizing past wrongs

Last month the Truth and Reconciliation Commission used the term cultural genocide to describe what had happened to the approximately 150,000 aboriginal children in residential schools and their families. TRC chair Justice Murray Sinclair made 94 recommendations for change in policies and programs.

According to the Anglican Church of Canada's website, the church operated roughly 36 residential schools between 1820 and 1969 .

In 1993, the Anglican Church officially apologized for their role in Canada's residential school system.

Crawley says elders from the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre are attending Sunday's event and will be performing a smudging ceremony.

Event a learning opportunity

It's estimated the event will last 40 minutes and the plan is to give everyone who attends an opportunity to toll the bell.

While Crawley understands it's quite a bit of noise to make on a Sunday afternoon, he hopes residents will understand the significance of it.

"If people come to say they are annoyed at it, we plan to suggest that what they should really be annoyed about is the fact that the government refuses to have a Royal Commission or any kind of commission into the missing and unaccounted for First Nations women."


To hear the full interview with David Crawley, listen to the audio labelled Church bell tolling 1,122 times.

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