In honor of victims, survivors of Indigenous residential schools
√ Community invited to participate Sept. 30 in Niagara Falls
Seneca Gaming Corp. invites the community to participate in a special “Every Child Matters” walk on Thursday, Sept. 30, in downtown Niagara Falls. It stated the event is “In an effort to bring greater understanding, awareness and healing to the atrocities faced by generations of Indigenous children at residential schools across the United States and Canada.”
Participants will gather at 5:30 p.m. in Seneca Square, in front of the Fourth Street entrance to Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, where welcome remarks will be delivered and those in attendance who attended Indigenous residential schools will be recognized. Walkers – all carrying orange glow sticks and wearing orange wrist bands – will then proceed along the approximately 1.3-mile walk route, taking them from Seneca Niagara to Niagara Street, down to Niagara Falls State Park and back to the casino, where there will be closing remarks and cultural demonstrations.
As part of the day’s recognition, Niagara Falls and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino will both be illuminated in orange.
“Throughout history, Native people have made, and continue to make, indelible contributions to our community,” Seneca Gaming Corp. President and CEO Kevin Nephew said. “In the spirit of community, we are inviting our neighbors throughout the area to stand with us, to walk with us and share with us as we reflect on a terror that no child should ever have to endure.”
Seneca Niagara stated, “Beginning in the 1800s and lasting well into the 1990s, tens of thousands of Native American children were forced to attend residential schools across the United States and Canada, where they were systematically stripped of their names, traditional language and culture, and where they were often the victims of physical abuse. Thousands of children are known to have died at these schools. It is believed that the deaths of hundreds – if not thousands – more were never documented. Earlier this year, the remains of more than 1,000 victims were found at multiple former residential school sites in Canada.”
Lori Quigley, chairwoman of the Seneca Gaming Corp. board of directors, said, “The residential school era and the pain and hatred perpetuated by the schools needs to be brought to greater light. The children whose bodies were discovered earlier this year – those who remain missing, their families, and the many Indigenous people who still live with the memories of violence and abuse to this day – deserve healing and community support.”
The walk in Niagara Falls coincides with a number of other awareness events. The Seneca Nation is holding a walk for members of the Seneca Nation on the Cattaraugus Territory in Irving, where the Thomas Indian School operated from 1855-1956. There are also events being planned on the Seneca Nation’s Allegany Territory in Salamanca, including within the Salamanca City School District. In addition, Sept. 30 is the day when Canada annually observes Orange Shirt Day as a way to educate and promote awareness of the impact Indigenous residential schools had on Indigenous people and communities.
Seneca Gaming Corp. is a wholly owned, tribally chartered corporation of the Seneca Nation of Indians, which operates the Nation’s Class III casino gaming properties. Since opening Seneca Niagara Casino in 2002, the corporation has built and invested in the community at large by providing three gaming and entertainment destinations in Western New York: Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino in Niagara Falls, Seneca Buffalo Creek Casino in downtown Buffalo, and Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino in Salamanca. It also built the award-winning Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course in Lewiston. Since 2002, the corporation has grown into one of the largest private sector employers in Western New York with over 3,000 employees across its three locations.
For more information, visit SenecaGamingCorporation.com.