Residential school reconciliation walks draws thousands in Vancouver

VANCOUVER - Thousands of people braved a pouring rain in Vancouver to take part in a reconciliation walk marking the sad history of residential schools in Canada.

Bernice King, the youngest daughter of American civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr., delivered a keynote speech to the crowd.

King says the commission and the march are an important step toward this country realizing its full potential, through inclusion of aboriginal and all members of society.

The walk through downtown Vancouver came at the end of a week of hearings by the federal Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The fact-finding commission is part of a settlement between the Canadian government, victims and various churches who operated the schools — the last of which closed its doors in 1996.

The gathering in Vancouver is the sixth of seven gatherings across the country, and will culminate in a final event in Edmonton next year, and a final report by the commission.