STC chief hopes walk along Circle Drive sparks change

Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) Chief Mark Arcand is walking the entirety of Circle Drive to raise awareness and encourage government, local businesses and organizations to incorporate Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action.

Arcand started walking at the Sutherland entrance to Circle Drive Monday morning. He said he chose the 30-kilometre route because of the high visibility and the opportunity for the public to see the importance of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) calls to action and residential schools.

“Those calls to action were made for a reason and that is so residential school survivors to tell their stories about what happened to them,” Arcand told CTV News.

He hopes the walk results in the those calls to action being implemented by all levels of government and making a difference in the lives of Indigenous people.

He started thinking about mobilizing the walk after the discovery of 215 bodies at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

“Here at home lot of our residential school survivors were affected and they were triggered. I sat back for a week to 10 days and waited for things to unfold and talked to residential school survivors here and got input.”

120 people started with Arcand with others joining along the route which was escorted by members from the Saskatoon Police Service.

Representatives from different companies and organizations joined the walk including Nurtrien, Mayor Charlie Clark, University of Saskatchewan President Peter Stoicheff, trustees from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, according to Arcand.

Last week Arcand held a media conference where the STC called on the City of Saskatoon to have John A. MacDonald's name removed from a city street. He suggested Reconciliation Road as a new name.

“I heard it was supposed to go to a city planning committee on June 21 which is a really positive step. It just creates discussion and there’s no disrespect to people on that street. It’s about understanding and there are name changes all the time in different cities,” Arcand said.