A painting depicting the legacy of residential schools in Canada now hangs in The Town of Saugeen Shores Council Chambers. The Town commissioned Indigenous artist, Brent Henry following the uncovering of the unmarked gravesites at several former residential schools as a reminder of the impacts the schools had and continue to have on Indigenous communities.
The result was unveiled Thursday morning on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation with members of local First Nations representatives in attendance.
In addition to the unveiling, Town Council adopted a resolution on September 27 in support of reconciliation, acknowledgement and collaboration for the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The Canadian and Every Child Matters flags have been lowered to half mast, with staff encouraged to wear an orange shirt to show support and participate in a collective act of reconciliation.
For the community, the Town has also posted a Public Notice with resources and suggested ways to commemorate and raise awareness of the path to Truth and Reconciliation:
“This painting will hang in the Council Chambers as an ongoing reminder of the pain and suffering at residential schools, and to ensure that, as decision makers, we never forget our obligation to truth and reconciliation in our relationship with our indigenous neighbours and in all that we do,” said Luke Charbonneau, Mayor of the Town of Saugeen Shores
“When I first spoke about residential schools before it was in the mainstream media, I found a lot of people didn’t know about this horrific part in Canadian history. I felt that I could express my voice through paintings to educate and make it known as to what happened at these schools, and the impact it had on the Indigenous in Canada,” said artist Brent Henry.
“Keeping the story of residentials schools alive is critical for all First Nations and Indigenous Peoples, and for all Canadians as we walk this path of Truth and Reconciliation. We thank Mr. Henry for honouring our story through his art. We thank the Town for recognizing the past and commissioning this painting as a lasting acknowledgement and promise for a better future,” said Chief Lester Anoquot, Saugeen First Nation.
“We’ve been working closely with the Town in a spirit of understanding and cooperation. The Town has been listening and looking for ways to build ties and bring our communities together. This painting is a symbol of our progress together. We are grateful to Mr. Henry and to the Town for another positive step forward,” added Chief Veronica Smith, Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation.
Read original story from Midwestern Ontario News – BlackburnNews.com