The plan to build a permanent memorial is a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action No. 82, which recommends building a highly visible residential school memorial accessible to the public in each capital city to honour survivors and children who were lost to their families and communities.
The design was unveiled on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation following engagement with Indigenous knowledge-keepers, leaders and residential school survivors across the province. Engagement was led by Mirasty, who said it was an honour to speak with survivors and their families.
“The Memorial will acknowledge the pain, as well as the resilience of all those impacted by the Residential School system in our province,” Mirasty said in a press release.
Grade 12 students from Luther High School attended the unveiling event on the grounds of Government House.
The memorial design will be circular, symbolizing the cycles and seasons of life. It will include benches made from reclaimed elm wood, which will be sourced from Wascana Centre and Government House and milled by the Provincial Capital Commission.
Saskatchewan plants and trees will be planted throughout the design.
At the centre of the memorial, a large natural stone will depict the province and the locations of each former residential school. The stone will face east toward the sunrise, which signifies hope.
A smudge bowl will also be installed in the front of the stone for ceremonial purposes.
The Provincial Capital Commission and lieutenant-governor’s office will unveil the finished memorial at an unspecified date.
The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.