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Lower Kootenay Band develops plan for new memorial park

The new Kulilu Garden will serve as a memorial for children who died from polio and tuberculosis in the 1930s and 40s

To honour the memory of lost children, the Lower Kootenay Band is developing a new park space just up Simon Road.

In the 1930s and 40s, there were several deaths of infants and toddlers in the LKB due to tuberculosis or polio.

“Many of them have been forgotten to the point where they don’t even have grave markers in our cemetery,” said Nasukin Jason Louie.

The new park will serve as a memorial space with a plaque erected with a list of the children’s names.

“We want to remember them and say their names out loud,” said Louie.

It will be called Kulilu Garden, which means butterfly in the Ktunaxa language. The acre of land has been sitting empty for over 20 years, with nothing but a few picnic tables and trees in the area.

Each aspect of development will focus on incorporating the culture and history of the Yaqan Nukiy people.

The centre piece of the memorial will be a gazebo with elements of a traditional roundhouse, built by local carpenter Tim Fullarton.

Melissa Flint, a professional landscaper with Aurora Edible Designs, will be planting shrubs that are indigenous to the Creston Valley. They hope to include some species with medicinal properties.

The project will cost approximately $30,000 funded by grants available to the LKB.

Upon completion, Louie hopes the park will serve as a quiet place for families to gather and enjoy a picnic. He mentioned that their alcohol and drug counselor could use it as a space to sit with clients.

“There’s also an aspect of reconciliation, as we plan to invite students from our local schools to join in the planting,” said Louie.

“We’ve had a division in our community for far too long, so I just want to find some common ground to try and unit us.”

Anyone else who is interested in helping out is encouraged to contact the LKB. Planting should take place around May long weekend.

READ MORE: Multi-million-dollar wellness centre for Lower Kootenay Band nears completion

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Kelsey Yates

About the Author: Kelsey Yates

Kelsey Yates has had a lifelong passion for newspapers and storytelling. Originally from Alberta, she graduated from SAIT Polytechnic's journalism program in 2016.
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