Lakehead unveils new crosswalk, flag for residential school survivors

Lakehead crosswalk

Lakehead University unveiled its new Every Child Matters crosswalk and raised the Survivors’ Flag on Wednesday, Sept. 7, during an event to memorialize the children lost to the residential school system and honour survivors and their families.

The flag, designed by residential school survivors and the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR), was raised and the crosswalk unveiled in front of Simcoe Hall at the Orillia campus. The crosswalk is permanent and the flag will be proudly on display until the end of September.

“As Chair of Truth and Reconciliation at Lakehead University I am honoured to represent the children lost, and the Survivors still with us, every day in what I do and say,” stated Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux during the celebration. “My work represents a grateful tribute to their courage.”

“Raising this flag at both Lakehead University campuses is an important symbol of the work we are doing to honour remembrance and enact reconciliation to better serve Indigenous students and communities,” said Denise Baxter, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Initiatives, at Lakehead University.

“The Every Child Matters crosswalks remind us that every child matters and as a postsecondary institution we must be vigilant in our education, research, outreach, and community service.”

For Lakehead President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Moira McPherson, the installation of the flag and crosswalk on the University’s campuses serves as a symbol that action and education go hand in hand.

“The crosswalks we've added to our campuses in Orillia and Thunder Bay are considered pathways, and they remind everyone, every day, that we must be vigilant to ensure that no child experiences the hurt of being taken away from their families," said Dr. McPherson.

“In addition to these pathways, today we raised the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation’s Survivors’ Flag as another expression of remembrance – to honour residential school survivors and all the lives and communities impacted by Canada's residential school system,” she added.

Learning and commemorating the truth of Canada’s history is an important part of the path to reconciliation. Lakehead has long been a leader when it comes to educating students about Indigenous issues and Canada’s past, launching the first Indigenous Content Requirement in 2016, and creating the first Indigenous Chair on Truth and Reconciliation in Canada in 2016.