Flag raising ceremony honours Indian residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors and lives lost
The City of Saskatoon, Office of the Treaty Commissioner, Saskatoon Tribal Council, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. along with 84 business and community organization members of Reconciliation Saskatoon gathered in Civic Square outside City Hall today to raise the Reconciliation flag in honour of Indian residential school and Sixties Scoop survivors.
“Looking back at what happened to us in residential schools - the loss of culture and language, the physical, sexual and mental abuse, the blatant racism we experienced – this ceremony is incredibly important to me and for all the survivors,” says Frank Badger, Elder and Indian residential school survivor.
“By going back to our roots and celebrating our culture, language and traditions, we are making our way back to who we once were as proud First Nation, Inuit and Métis people. We are teaching our ways to the generation today and those yet to be born, and we will show our children that no one will ever experience this dark time again.”
The Reconciliation Saskatoon movement has grown to 88 member organizations since the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada Report with the aim to further a community conversation about the process of Canadian reconciliation and to educate residents to engage in calls to action.
“In Saskatoon, there is a tremendous effort underway throughout the community to work towards reconciliation and to create a stronger Treaty relationship now and into our shared future,” says Mayor Charlie Clark.
“By honouring survivors and keeping the next generations top of mind, over 80 non-profits, businesses, institutions, and faith communities have been making a positive change in our community through the work of Reconciliation Saskatoon. It is remarkable to see such a strong community-wide support for this important work as we raise the Reconciliation Saskatoon flag this morning and recommit ourselves to a stronger community.”
Upcoming reconciliation events in Saskatoon include the official unveiling ceremony for “The Coming Spring” Reconciliation Art Project in Victoria Park on June 20 and the third annual “Rock Your Roots” Walk for Reconciliation along with National Indigenous Peoples Day celebrations on June 21.
“Reconciliation is a shared journey which begins with each and every one of us,” says Shirley Isbister, President, Central Urban Métis Federation Inc. ”It’s important for us to provide opportunities like the Flag Raising Ceremony and the Rock Your Roots walk to help people explore the meaning of reconciliation and respond to the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Action.”
In 2015, Saskatoon committed to responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s calls to action, with a proclamation by City Council on June 22, declaring 2015-16 the Year of Reconciliation. In addition, the City committed to working with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and other community groups, leaders and institutions in Saskatchewan, to promote reconciliation in our province.
For more information on events, or to have your reconciliation event added to the calendar, please visit www.OTC.ca.