Hear My Voice: Survivor Stories From Residential School

Hear My Voice: Survivor Stories From Residential School & Canada’s Genocide

Sunday, June 27
Doors 12:30 | Event 1:00 pm *This event is now at capacity. Rush seating only at the door, subject to availability.
Advance tickets available by sliding scale donation HERE 

Second Session Added!
Doors 3:30 pm | Event 4:00 pm *This event is now at capacity. Rush seating only at the door, subject to availability.
Advance tickets available by sliding scale donation HERE 

*Sorry, Rio Theatre Groupons and passes n/a for this event. Advance tickets encouraged to ensure seating.

Please note: Survivor stories involve very honest, painful, and sometimes graphic accounts of personal experience. Bearing witness to Survivor stories can include graphic testimony and may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

Following the tragic, horrific findings of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at the Kamloops Residential School earlier this month, a powerful grassroots vigil and memorial took hold on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

215 pairs of children’s shoes were placed there in honour of the missing children. Upon hearing the news, local artist Tamara Bell (Haida Nation) said, “I was so triggered and heartbroken and completely taken aback, because I know of this in so many instances.” The next day, Bell woke up early, cried, composed herself, and came up with a plan: She put out a call to her network of Indigenous friends to help organize an installation, settling on shoes as a visual metaphor to provide both impact and scope.

The spontaneous tribute quickly became a meeting point for local Indigenous people, including survivors and children of survivors, while also attracting the attention of international media, passers-by, and others who sought it out to pay their respects to the missing and murdered.

The visual impact of the curated display can’t be understated, and for some time remained at the steps of the VAG, serving as a powerful backdrop to local Indigenous artists, speakers, activists and healers who shared their own personal, powerful journeys and stories with the public. For those who chose to stay and listen, it was a chance to hear profound, painful truths and testimonies from people whose experiences are, so often, neither heard nor validated by society.

In that same spirit of learning, listening, connection, healing and understanding, Bell is guiding and curating Hear My Voice at the Rio Theatre. The event will feature survivor accounts from Squamish Elder Bob Baker’s experience at Kamloops Residential School, and actor Ray G. Thunderchild, who attended residential day school.

Tamara Bell (Haida Nation) Tamara Bell is an acclaimed artist whose long and varied career speaks to a wealth of experience as a producer, host, and director. Her artistic passions stem from her Haida roots and clan moiety.

Bob Baker (Kamloops Residential School Survivor, Squamish Nation) Bob Baker (Squamish Ancestral name is S7aplek, Hawaiian name is Lanakila) is co-founder and Spokesperson for Spakwus Slolem (Eagle Song), the most reputable dance group of the Squamish Nation. Born and raised Squamish, Bob is a cultural advisor and performer who has been exercising his culture through singing, dances, and various presentations for over 35 years.


Ray G. Thunderchild (Day school Survivor, Cree Nation) Great, great grandson of Chief Thunderchild, who lead the Cree Nation into freedom from neighbouring warring tribes in the 1800’s; only for his people to then become wards of the residential school system. As far back as Ray can recall, his family all attended residential school, generation after generation. Ray too attended residential day school, and will share the stories he witnessed throughout his life growing up in a broken system on the reservation.

Hear My Voice is taking place on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. 

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About The Rio

Voted the #1 Independent Theatre in Vancouver, the Rio Theatre is a multimedia venue featuring arthouse, mainstream and cult-classic cinemas as well as live entertainment. Built in 1938, the Rio has been fully restored with a state of the art digital projector, surround sound, a huge stage and 420 luxurious seats.

1660 East Broadway, Vancouver, BC

Phone: 604.879.3456

Info Line: 604.878.3456

Email: [email protected]

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