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Survivors Honoured and Remembered at Hillcrest Park

By Adam Riley Sep 30, 2022 | 4:42 PM

Hundreds gathered at Hillcrest park this morning to honour the thousands of children who attended residential school and to remember the ones who never made it home.

Among the dignitaries was Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Derek Fox, who spoke to the crowd about his experiences as the son of Residential School survivors and the mental health issues linked to the schools..

“You knew something happened to your parents something happened to you, its in your blood lines…and to hold that in is not good.”

Indigenous services Minister Patty Hajdu took some time to acknowledge her own position within the government is colonial in nature.

“The Federal government has not been a good partner and has not lived up to the spirit and the intent of the treaties that were signed so long ago, and the other agreements that we’ve made with Indigenous people as settlers.”

However Hajdu states she is dedicated as a Minister to do better. “My job as the Minister of Indigenous Services Canada is to try to breathe life into the commitment.”

Friday’s ceremony also offered the opportunity to show the public of a new space being installed at Hillcrest, that will stand as a year round commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. Over the coming year the City will be installing a sitting area at the flag pole to host future events and to offer a place for those to offer tobacco, hold ceremony or sit in quiet reflection.

Fort William First Nation Councillor Michele Solomon says the site is another step towards strengthening the bonds between her community and the city.

“Having a place that is for Indigenous people and really reflects their way of living, so not just a flag, but a safe space that is in the community.”

Solomon adds she is looking to speak with the City of Thunder Bay and its elected officials to see a physical commemoration of her community added to the Friendship Gardens.



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