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Clinton girl, 7, raises close to $2,000 in bannock sales for Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc

Jasmine Francis, a member of the Skeetchestn Indian band, sold more than 400 bannock
From left: Eddy Schlosser, Jasmine Francis, Erica Rintoul, Megan Francis and Tiffany Peterson, with her daughter Abigail, and Serenity Francis, front.

A seven-year-old Clinton girl has raised more than $1,900 in bannock sales to honour the 215 children whose remains were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

Jasmine Francis, a member of the Skeetchestn Indian band, sold more than 400 bannock -for $2 apiece - in three hours Saturday at a stand outside the Nomad Motel on Highway 97. Juice boxes and water were also available at the event, while donations are still pouring in. The money raised will go to the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc for further scientific research, identification and archaeology and scientific research of the 215 children’s remains.

“I think we should do more bannock because they all went crazy and wild,” Jasmine said, adding she was surprised at all the customers. “They all got some bannock. It helped.”

The youngster said she got the idea of holding a bannock sale because her “great-nana and papa” - Leonard Francis and Elizabeth Billy - are residential school survivors. The couple had both attended the Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“I thought of bannock because it’s traditional,” Jasmine said.

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Jasmine’s mom Megan Francis said her daughter watches the news and has asked a lot of questions since hearing about the 215 children whose remains found buried at the residential school. She came up with the idea of the bannock sales after her school launched a coin drive to raise funds.

“It hit her hard because her great-grandparents are residential school survivors. If they didn’t come home, we wouldn’t be here,” Francis said. “She asked me questions like ‘where did they go’ and ‘why did they die.’ I don’t have the answers. This is where we can help to maybe find answers.”

Jasmine said she and her sister Serenity wanted to hold the bannock sale outside the Nomad Motel - in the centre of town - because “a lot of people go there and because it’s a motel.” She said they made the dough ahead of time and “her friend” - Nomad owner Erica Rintoul - allowed Francis to use the motel kitchen unit to fry the bannock so it was fresh when they served it up.

“We want to thank everyone who helped us and donated,” Jasmine said. “A huge thank you to the community of Clinton.”

Francis said she is proud of her daughter for coming up with the bannock sale and pulling it off. The girls wore orange T-shirts and carried signs promoting their product to passersby and traffic coming through town.

“It was all her idea and I just supported her. It shocked me, wow,” Francis said. “It’s amazing how the community came together and supported her as well.”

As to whether they will hold another bannock sale, Francis said they might wait a little while. “She really, really wants to but my hands hurt for two days,” she said. “I’ve never made that much bannock in my life.”

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Jasmine Francis holds bannock sale for 215 children who died in Kamloops Residential School. (Photo submitted)