A new set of artworks honouring Indian residential schools survivors was unveiled in Saskatoon on Thursday afternoon.
The “Child Taken” project is a partnership between the Saskatoon Tribal Council, University of Saskatchewan and Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Saskatoon Tribal Council Chief Felix Thomas says most Indigenous people are fully aware of the dark legacy of the residential schools system but hopefully the project will also serve to educate the non-Indigenous population.
“Hopefully, they’ll see what First Nations and Métis people went through at residential schools and how the children were taken, they weren’t given, and what the effects are now on First Nations people and how good intentions sometimes lead to bad results,” he says.
Kayla Prive, a Fine Arts student at the U of S whose “New Child” piece of art was one of the featured works, says she hopes by conveying the real story of residential schools, no matter how dark it may be, all Canadians can then move forward.
“What it means to me is now we’re starting a time of rebirth, so it’s a time to understand each other so we can move forward from all these bad past experiences with residential schools and all the misunderstandings that we have,” she says. “We need to understand and move forward so that all the children in the future can be new children with a bright future together in a shared Canada.”
The project is part of a direct collaboration between STC and the U of S’s Department of Art and Art History, which began in March of this year.
It is funded by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.
The artworks were officially released at the U of S’s Gordon Snelgrove Gallery but this will not be their permanent home.
There are plans to take the pieces on the road as part of a traveling showcase before finding a permanent place for them somewhere in Saskatoon.