Residential School Memorial Monument makes a stop in Regina
- Campbell Stevenson | September 11, 2023
For the entire month of September, Regina residents will have a chance to see what master carver Stanley Hunt created to honour victims of Canada's Indian Residential Schools.
“This monument tells the truth of a time in Canada that was very dark, for us.” said Hunt during the unveiling held at RCMP Depot on Saturday.
Hunt, from Tsakis (Fort Rupert) British Columbia, said the black totem pole began as a dream over a year ago.
The 18-foot carving began as a tree felled near Port Hardy, B.C, where the artist lives.
Weighing around 7,000 pounds, it is adorned with almost “skeletal-like faces”, none of which are smiling. At the top, a large raven- a conduit to guide those lost children back to their homes, according to Hunt.
The totem pole's final destination is the Canadian museum of History in Gatineau, Quebec.
Hunt was inspired to begin this project following the discovery of the 215 possible graves near the Kamloops Residential School in 2021,
“My purpose here, for the rest of my life, is to help those children, our children to have a voice," said Hunt. "I'm hoping that by bringing awareness to our country, that this is a true fact, that this happened."
Upon hearing of this endeavor, the RCMP felt compelled to assist in its safe passage across the country.
Brian Kelly, Staff Sergeant and acting officer in charge of the Indigenous policing service unit, played a role in welcoming the monument to Regina.
“We have to own the truth as an organization, and [the role] we played in the residential school history. …telling that history and owning that history is something that we have to do, with Indigenous people, to move forward and also work for a better future” said Kelly.
Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan, Russ Mirasty spoke at the ceremony, a residential school survivor, he took great pride in assisting a ceremony so crucial to our province’s history,
“We often talk or hear about intergenerational trauma, and many people question that. But I can tell you first-hand, that my family has been affected,” said Merasty, he added,
“But as we’ve heard already this morning, there are ways to bring people together and look to the future for a better path.”
As the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches, the monument will be on display at 1601 Dewdney Ave. on the front lawn of the RCMP Depot.