Memorial walk for victims of residential school system hosted by St. Albert Indigenous community
The Indigenous community in St. Albert gathered together Sunday for the pekîwewak awâsisak "Children are Coming Home" walk.
The event started in front of St. Albert Place with a welcome and blessing before gathering community members for a walk to The Children’s Bridge. A ceremony led by First Nations, Inuit, and Metis community members and elders took place at The Healing Garden.
Maureen Callihoo-Ligtvoet, program coordinator at the Institute for the Advancement of Aboriginal Women, told CTV News Edmonton that the event was organized by the local Indigenous community with the support of the City of St. Albert.
For Callihoo-Ligtvoet, the event aimed to honour those found in unmarked grave sites across Canada and support survivors of the residential school system.
“The feeling today is one of new discovered truth and healing,” Callihoo-Ligtvoet shared.
More than a 100 people participated in the event. For Callihoo-Ligtvoet, it was a welcoming turnout, especially since many non-Indigenous people joined the event.
“I am just overjoyed,” Callihoo-Ligtvoet said. “My dad is a survivor and I never thought he would see this day when we would find these lost children and honour them.”
If you are a former residential school student in distress, or have been affected by the residential school system and need help, you can contact the 24-hour Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line: 1-866-925-4419.
Additional mental-health support and resources for Indigenous people are available here.