WARNING: Distrubing content.
The Saskatchewan RCMP is hosting a special monument at its headquarters in Regina.
This past weekend the Indian Residential School Memorial Monument arrived in Regina after traveling from British Columbia. Staff Sgt. Brian Kelly, who is with the Indigenous Policing Services Unit told MBC Radio News the monument will be at the RCMP’s Saskatchewan headquarters for a number of weeks.
“It will start moving around Oct. 2, so we will be able to host the monument on the grounds of F Division here for the whole month of September including Truth and Reconciliation Day,” he said.
After spending time in Regina the monument will be heading east to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau Que. Kelly explained the monument found its way to Regina when the RCMP were able to connect with the artist Stan Hunt and his family, who supported the idea to bring it to Regina.
“They were more than happy to do that as the RCMP had taken part in escorting the monument within B.C. when it traveled down to Vancouver for Indigenous Peoples Day,” he said.
The monument, which is similar to a totem pole, has a number of symbols on it including a raven, which in part symbolizes the push for a brighter future and the work to bring the children home. There are also symbols which represent the institutions that had a part in the residential school system including Christian churches and the RCMP. Kelly said the ones who never came home are who the monument is looking to remember.
“The master carver Stan Hunt’s vision was to represent the children, the ones that didn’t make it home from Indian Residential Schools on the monument,” he said.
Along with displaying the monument, Kelly said the RCMP’s Heritage Centre will be doing some programming and working to educate the public about the residential school system.
Overall Kelly, a member of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) said hosting the monument is an important thing for the RCMP to be doing in terms of owning its own history while working towards building a better future.
“When the Hunt family gave us this opportunity to take part in this reconciliation journey, it just made a lot of sense to us that we wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
(Top Photo.The Indian Residential School Memorial Monument being unloaded in Regina. Photo courtesy of RCMP Heritage Centre Facebook Page.)
Support is available for those affected by their experience at Indian Residential Schools and in reading difficult stories related to residential school. The Indian Residential School Crisis Line offers emotional and referral services 24 hours a day at 1-866-925-4419.