Ceremony at Wetaskiwin for Every Child Matters takes place on Canada Day – Ponoka News
A ceremony honoring children lost in Canada’s residential school system and survivors was held at the Alberta Reynolds Museum on July 1, 2021.
The ceremony was preceded by a convoy that traveled from the Cree Nation of Enoch to Wetaskiwin.
Hundreds of people attended the ceremony during the heatwave to listen to speeches and see performances by Indigenous dancers and a six-time Grammy-nominated musical group from Maskwacis, Alta., The Northern Cree.
Speakers included Chief Louis Bull Irvin Bull, Cree Nation of Montana Chief Leonard Standingontheroad, Cree Nation Chief Samson Vernon Saddleback, Maskwacis-Wetaskiwin MPP Rick Wilson and several others.
Wilson says that after the initial discovery of the bodies of 215 children in a mass grave at Kamloops Residential School, and additional discoveries at former residential schools since then, as an MLA and Minister for Alberta, he wanted to make his share to help treat healing.
âAs Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, I wanted to act right away. So I was able to go see some of my other ministers and we were able to raise $ 8 million to use as community research funds, âWilson said.
âAnd it’s not for me to decide how communities spend it, I left it totally flexible to communities. Some want to use it to make ground penetrating radar, others might want to make a memorial. “
Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback gave a passionate speech about the importance of the support Every Child Matters has received and appreciates the efforts of local communities including Wetaskiwin and the villages of Pigeon Lake to learn about the history of residential schools and the community. reconciliation efforts.
âThere is one thing I want to challenge all of you today,â Saddleback said. âWe cannot control what happens to us, we can only control what we feel today. Our story has taken place, it is part of Canadian history and it is fitting that on Canada Day we talk about it.
Saddleback says he appreciates the funding from the Government of Alberta which will be used to find more answers about what happened to the students at the residential school that was in the Ermineskin Cree Nation.
âOur Elders are talking about it and we will know it,â he said. The Elders believe bodies were found at the former residential school site in Maskwacis.
Saddleback spoke about his own experience as a residential school student and how opening up to his experience and realizing that he was not alone was empowering.
âReconciliation will not take place until the truth is revealed, and we are living that truth. And all of us here will go through it together. “