May 14/23 Mother’s Day bike ride

Forums Trip Reports May 14/23 Mother’s Day bike ride

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  • #24885
    Ye Chu

    I led a 38 km Mother’s Day bike ride from Science world to UBC with 6 participants coming from Richmond, North Vancouver and Vancouver.

    Along Spanish banks, we stopped to look at the billion dollar view to the giant “sleeping Buddha” on the Northshore mountains. Katy just loved it and took many photos. We biked to the back side of the Anthropology museum and saw the sensitive expansion under way. We had a relaxing and delicious Mother’s Day lunch near a water fountain on the East Mall Blvd, although one person dropped all their food on the ground!


    We biked down thorough the resident community that has been built on top of parking lots that I used back in the 1990’s. The UBC planners did an excellent job creating huge pedestrian boulevards with low rise buildings on either side, minimizing shadows. We visited the toilets in the Beatty museum and saw the jaw-dropping blue whale skeleton suspended from its ceiling.


    At the end of the East Mall, we stopped at this amazing Reconciliation Pole built in 2017, where 68,000 symbolic nails were hammered into the pole by the young and old, representing some of the children who died in residential schools. The depicted children carved out of the 800 year old red cedar, have no feet or shoes and it represents being groundless when you have everything you have known taking away from you at a very young age.


    The last residential school closed in 1996. An estimated 125,000, five year old children were forcibly taken from their mothers and fathers and moved out of province so they could not find their way back home. Some children were found frozen at the side of roads trying to find their mom and dad. BC children were taken to Alberta and visa versa. The surviving children faced horrendous abuse by the Church run schools: sexual, physiological and physical cruelty. Then at age 18, the survivors were released back into society growing up with no concept of familial love. They returned home damaged, traumatized and ashamed. Alcohol, drugs  and suicide are what many turn to numb the pain/memories. In Vancouver, we have 50 children that have written a letter to our government saying that they have a suicide pack. These children are only 10 to 12 years old. Now the number has grown to 250 children. I have contacted the local police, social workers from children’s hospital, principals of elementary schools, asking what can we do? They all said they have no idea. This is the mess we have created from 150+ years of residential schools. I am trying my best to help change BC legislation on how we care for all young children and their families now and in the future.


    Mother’s Day must be horrendous/painful for all those mothers who have lost a child(s). This reconciliation pole is one of the best memorials I have seen for lost children. Designed and built by many hands representing many Nations in BC. Of course, it takes a place like UBC to bring this to our attention.


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