Updated: Ottawa truckers rally for kids who died in residential schools

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Seventy-five trucks rolled past Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, to honor the Indigenous children who died at residential schools.

“I think we did a great job in getting the message out that we care about what’s going on,” said Lyoness Woodstock, an organizer of the event.

Trucks roll through Ottawa on Sunday to honor children who died in residential schools. (Photo: Supplied)

“People on the sidewalks were giving us arm pumps, thumbs up and saluting us while taking pictures and videos,” Woodstock, a truck driver, said.

“It was a very emotional run for everybody,” says Ken Adams, director of operations at Crossroads Truck & Career Academy.

“When we rounded the corner on to Wellington Street which runs across the front of Parliament Hill, there was a man and an Indigenous woman, standing on the side of the road dressed in orange. As our trucks started rolling by, she broke down and cried,” says Adams who was driving the lead truck.

An Indigenous woman broke down and cried as the trucks rolled past. (Photo: Supplied)

“That tugged at the heartstrings of a lot of guys. It really made everything we were doing worthwhile,” Adams added.

The trucks with 150 participants hit the road at 9:30 a.m. and the rally wrapped up by 11 a.m. “It took about 30 minutes for the procession of trucks to go by Parliament Hill,” Woodstock said.

As it was Father’s Day, Adams says it was nice having his dad ride shotgun with him. His son also drove a truck along with five trainers. “We ended up with seven trucks for the rally,” Adams said.

 He also expressed thanks to The SignMaker in Ottawa and Howling Designs in Smiths Falls. “The companies donated their time and effort to get us 10 banners for the vehicles in the rally,” he said.

Participants make their way toward Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday. (Photo: Supplied)

The rally was supported by many companies that provided the equipment for the drivers.

Woodstock said the rally was a great opportunity to show our Indigenous neighbors, city and country that the trucking industry and frontline workers care about the numerous children forced into residential schools, and especially those who never returned home. 

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Leo Barros is the associate editor of Today’s Trucking. He has been a journalist for more than two decades, holds a CDL and has worked as a longhaul truck driver. Reach him at leo@newcom.ca

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