Saskatoon StarPhoenix

RESIDENTIA­L SCHOOLS

Memorial to be `place of reflection'

- GILLIAN FRANCIS gfrancis@postmedia.com

The provincial government

REGINA has revealed plans to move forward with the creation of a residentia­l school memorial site in Regina, one year after the idea was first proposed.

The decision was announced at an official dedication Monday morning, National Indigenous Peoples Day, on the grounds of Government House, the proposed location of the monument. A group of Indigenous representa­tives paid homage to residentia­l school victims and acknowledg­ed the land in a teepee ceremony.

“We follow proper protocols and bring to life the ground that this monument will sit on eventually” Lt.-gov. Russ Mirasty said at the event. “...To make sure that the ground that this memorial will sit on has been blessed in the right way. That's it's been recognized and accepted by the elders.”

The proposed design for the memorial, which remains subject to change, will be circular with four benches made from reclaimed

wood, garden beds and trees surroundin­g a central monument. The benches will be painted in traditiona­l colours and plants will be collaborat­ively chosen by Indigenous elders, traditiona­l knowledge keepers and community members,

to ensure cultural relevance. Trees considered important to First Nations and Métis culture and ceremony, such as birch, spruce and poplar will feature prominentl­y.

Premier Scott Moe, who spoke at the event, said the memorial

will serve as a place where survivors can heal past wounds and visitors can learn about Canada's history, “creating that quiet place of reflection, for people to sit and reflect on how residentia­l schools have affected and impacted their family themselves.”

But Government House is also symbolic to the issue, he explained, representa­tive of the historic relationsh­ip between Indigenous people and the Crown.

Built in 1891, it served as the official residence and office of the lieutenant-governor, the Queen's representa­tive for Saskatchew­an, for 54 years.

Plans for the memorial site are already a year in the making, but discussion­s with Indigenous community members, elders and stakeholde­rs continue in an effort to make plans to make the final vision as collaborat­ive as possible.

Funding for the project will come from the federal government.

Mirasty said the memorial announceme­nt was timely, considerin­g the discovery of the remains of 215 Indigenous children at a formal residentia­l school site in Kamloops last month.

He added that renewed discussion of reconcilia­tion will foster important discussion and support that will help make the memorial site a reality.

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 ?? PHOTOS: TROY FLEECE ?? Premier Scott Moe exits a teepee during a visit to Government House on Monday. He was there to observe as Lt.-gov. Russ Mirasty presided over the dedication of the Saskatchew­an Residentia­l Schools memorial site that will be built on the grounds.
PHOTOS: TROY FLEECE Premier Scott Moe exits a teepee during a visit to Government House on Monday. He was there to observe as Lt.-gov. Russ Mirasty presided over the dedication of the Saskatchew­an Residentia­l Schools memorial site that will be built on the grounds.
 ??  ?? Mirasty says protocols were followed to ensure site where the memorial will be built has been “blessed in the right way.”
Mirasty says protocols were followed to ensure site where the memorial will be built has been “blessed in the right way.”

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