Youth from the non-profit Chokecherry Studios painted a few Broadway Avenue crosswalks orange in Saskatoon on Thursday afternoon.
The inspiration for the project came from a ’60s Scoop survivor, Rob Denham, who reached out in June with the idea to memorialize Indigenous children who never returned from residential schools.
“You don’t tell a survivor when their healing’s done. It is a lot of work and process that needs to go into it and with events like this, is showing those community members that the support is there and we’re listening. Hopefully, we have more events in the future,” Allison Forsberg, a youth with Chokecherry, said.
“I think a lot in Canada, we see people who are like, ‘Oh, why is everything about residential schools, it happened so long ago?’
“But it’s not. It’s my parents, my grandparents and the intergenerational trauma is still being passed down and we need to work towards better in Canada for its future generations.”
People use Canada Day for reconciliation at Saskatoon park
The project was able to come to fruition in partnership with the Broadway Business Improvement District (BID).
“The Broadway BID is committed to action on Truth and Reconciliation,” Broadway BID executive director DeeAnn Mercier said in a statement.
“While this may be a small act of commemoration, we hope people in the neighbourhood take time to pause and reflect on Indigenous history, the impact of residential schools and honour the survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.”
The project is titled kiskisiwin, which means ‘memory’ or ‘remembrance’ in Cree.
The Indian Residential Schools Resolution Health Support Program has a hotline to help residential school survivors and their relatives suffering trauma invoked by the recall of past abuse. The number is 1-866-925-4419.
Backpack display in Regina in memory unmarked graves at residential schools being donated
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