The Archdiocese of Regina confirms the Father Hugonard statue will be removed. “Conversations have been taking place regarding the statue regularly over the past week or so. The group of affected parties, which includes Star Blanket First Nation, the town, and the church, have agreed that the statue will be removed,” explained a spokesperson for the Archdiocese. “Discussions will be ongoing in the coming days to finalize the statue’s removal.”
Initially the statue was to be re-homed in the Lebret Museum, but there are concerns that the museum structure may not hold the weight of the statue.
The Star Blanket Cree Nation and the Federation of the Sovereign Indigenous Nations said the statue of Father Hugonard, a Roman Catholic priest who founded the Lebret Indian Industrial Residential School must be removed.
“The statue must go. It is not appealing. It brings out emotions of pain, suffering, and angers our relatives that went through the residential school era,” said Star Blanket Cree Nation Chief Michael Starr.
Indigenous leadership is calling on Regina’s Archbishop Donald Bolen to remove the statue. The statue is located at Sacred Heart Catholic cemetery in Lebret, Saskatchewan.
It was erected in 1926 and was at the entrance of the Lebret Indian Industrial Residential School until the late 1990’s.
“The statue of Father Hugonard is a reminder of a horrific time for many First Nation People. The statue needs to be removed to ensure that our people are not retraumatized,” stated FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “This statue is a distasteful representation of the Residential School era. In no way, should that be commemorated. Acts of genocide were committed against First Nations children at the hands of church officials.”
(Photo courtesy of Dictionary of Canadian Biography)