About 50 motorcyclists with the Sikh Motorcycle Club of Manitoba went on an Every Child Matters ride Sunday to honour children who died in residential schools, as well as survivors.
The convoy started out from Dhillon Automotive on Pembina Highway, and rode all the way to the Brandon Residential School.
“If it’s [just] one bike, I’ll do it next year,” said Bava Dhillon. His family owns Dhillon Automotive Group and his mother is a residential school survivor.
“As long as people are remembering what happened, acknowledging what happened and working towards fixing what happened,” he said.
Dhillon, who is Cree and Sikh, said it is important to teach new Canadians the real story of how the country came to be.
“We have immigrant families coming to Canada without knowing the truth of the land and the rightful owners of this land,” he said.
The discovery of potential unmarked graves at former Canadian residential school sites caught many off guard, said Dhillon, and many are still in mourning.
The ride is a way for the two groups to show Canadians that everyone should stick together in tough times, according to Dhillon. He said it was also a way to honour survivors of residential schools.
“The children kind of take us where we need to go, but the elders show us how to get there,” he said.
Last year, residential school survivor and longtime advocate Dr. Raymond Mason was part of the event. He has since passed away, and the riders honoured him and his legacy this year.
“I could never replace my father, but I do try to advocate and fight for survivors and Indigenous peoples in my own way,” said Kyle Mason.
Mason said his father was taken to residential school as a child and the experience motivated him to fight for Indigenous rights in the ’80s, before most people were aware about residential schools.
Mason said his father spent the last couple years of his life fighting for justice for day school survivors.
It was important for him to bring his own son to the event, Mason said, since his father was around the same age when he was taken to residential school.
His family motto is to help people, Mason said, and part of that involves uncovering the horrors of residential schools. The work will continue with his son, said Mason.
“We cannot have a better future unless we’re all on board when it comes to reconciliation.”
A caravan of elders and Sixties Scoop survivors also had an honorary spot at the front of the convoy.