The Healing Garden – Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future in St. Albert
On May 10, 2017, St. Albert embarked on a profound journey of reconciliation. The official pipe ceremony and sod-turning event launched the community-led Healing Garden project, a tangible expression of our collective will as a community to honour the truth of our past, to reconcile for our future and make St. Albert a better place for all peoples.
The history of Canada and indeed, St. Albert is not without dark moments.
“For over a century, the central goals of Canada’s Aboriginal policy were to eliminate Aboriginal governments; ignore Aboriginal rights; terminate the Treaties; and through a process of assimilation, cause Aboriginal peoples to cease to exist as distinct legal, social, cultural, religious and racial entities in Canada.” Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Residential Schools were the conduit for assimilation.
Two residential schools existed in what is now St. Albert. The St. Albert Indian Residential School operated from 1941 to 1948 and the Edmonton Indian Residential School operated from 1919 – 1960. These schools had a devastating impact on our Aboriginal citizens.
The final report of the “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” is a hard read.
How do we come to terms with our history and heal as a community and as a nation? I believe the process is contained within the title of the report. “Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future.” Reconciliation brings us together to establish a mutually respectful relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in this country.
The construction of the Healing Garden is underway.
So to is our determination to learn from our past and continue on the path of reconciliation.
That the Healing Garden exists in our wonderful community is yet another reason why I am grateful to live in St. Albert.