Commemoration 2011-2012 - Project Descriptions

Table of contents


"Nipiqartugut Sanaugatigut TRC- Virtual Quilt"

Project Lead: Pauktuutit Inuit Women's Association of Canada
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Approved Funding: $ 950,000
Contact : (613)238-3977

Pauktuutit is the national representative organization of Inuit women in Canada. Pauktuutit created a national Inuit Residential School Legacy Quilt and accompanying book to serve as a lasting memorial to the Inuit Residential School experience. This project combined the creation of a tangible long-lasting memorial with Inuit Language, culture and traditional values. The national launch was held March 2013.

"The Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival 10th Anniversary Understanding Residential School Initiative: Building Bridges Through Film: Sharing, Healing and Creating a Permanent Record"

Project Lead: Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Approved Funding: $ 100,000
Contact : (204) 774-1375

The Building Bridges Through Film Project hosted a three-day special event from November 18 - 20, 2011 on the legacy of the Indian residential schools and the through three commemorative testimonial films. Former students provided statements about their experiences at residential schools, and of life after those years. This initiative brought together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal audiences, and created a better understanding of the effects of residential schools through film screenings, key note speakers, workshops and panel discussions, sharing circles and a closing night reception.

"National Unity Garden"

Project Lead: Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health/ Legacy of Hope Foundation
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Approved Funding: $ 750,000
Contact: (613) 237-4806

Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health is an award-winning charity and a leader in community-based holistic health care, bridging Aboriginal cultural practices with Western medicine to combat poverty and illness in Ottawa's First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities. The Legacy of Hope is a national Aboriginal charitable organization whose purpose is to create awareness and understanding about the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, including the intergenerational effects on First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, and to continue to support the ongoing healing process of former Residential School students. Together they created a permanent National Unity Garden in the new National Centre of Excellence, in the heart of the Nation's Capital. This commemorative garden is an expression of the living, breathing process of growth and renewal reflective of "commemoration", and creates conditions where reconciliation is possible for all Canadians.

"Ever Good" - Volume 1

Project Lead: Nadia McLaren, Artist/Writer
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Approved Funding: $100,000
Contact: (416) 886-5234

Nadia McLaren, writer/producer and director of the highly-acclaimed documentary Muffins for Granny, will complete and publish a graphic novel memoire entitled Ever Good – Volume 1. This memoire is inspired by time Nadia spent with her grandmother, and former Residential School student, Theresa McCraw, and is written with the spirits of Aboriginal youth in mind and heart. The novel is set to be released during the summer of 2014.

"The Métis Experience: Commemorative Project"

Project Lead: Métis National Council
Location: Ottawa, Ontario
Approved Funding: $450,000
Contact: 1-800-928-6330

Since 1983, the Métis National Council has represented the Métis Nation nationally and internationally. As part of its continued work to promote Métis culture and heritage, healing and reconciliation, and to ensure the Métis-specific experience is commemorated, the Council held a national commemoration conference in March 2012. As well, a documentary was produced using excerpts from ten interviews with Métis former students to highlight the effects of residential schools on the Métis nation.The Council used multi-media tools to compile archival photographs, conduct interviews and design educational tools that provide a vehicle of expression to the Métis community.


"The CheslattaT'en Community and Gathering Place Building Initiative"

Project Lead: Cheslatta Carrier Nation
Location: Burns Lake, British Columbia
Approved Funding : $50,000
Contact: (250) 694-3334

The Cheslatta Carrier Nation, located in British Columbia, held a commemorative event on the traditional territory of the CheslettaT'en people, Indian Reserve #7 on Chesletta Lake. They had a week long campout for the community and installed a permanent structure, a ‘Gathering Place' for future events, built with sustainable design principles. This project brought together former residential school students, their families and community members (Aboriginal & non-Aboriginal) to acknowledge their experiences and the effects of the Indian Residential School era in their community.

"Back to Basics"

Project Lead: Ehattesht First Nation
Location: Zeballos, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (250) 761-4155

The Ehattesht First Nation is one of 14 tribes of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth Tribal Council, and is situated directly west of the Campbell River on the outside of Vancouver Island. The project hosted weekly cultural events to revitalize the Nuu-Chah-Nulth cultural practices and ceremonies by immersing participants in tradition and culture, such as family craft night, culture night and talking circles. The "Back to Basics" project built a medium sized canoe and four smaller canoe planters to be used in the memorial gardens. The project also hosted a district potlatch for the community in March 2013.

"Nuu-chah-nulth Language, Carving, Paddling"

Project Lead: Hesquiaht Language Program
Location: Tofino, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: Hooksum Outdoor School Society (250) 670-1120

The Hesquiaht Language Program's aim is to reconnect to the language and culture of their ancestors and to revitalize their linguistic, cultural and spiritual legacy in a respectful way. In this project, six participants were chosen to participate in a month-long canoe-carving and language immersion program guided by Hesquiaht language facilitators, elders and master carvers. They then took part in Hesquiaht Days, a week-long celebration that gave participants the opportunity to travel to many traditional sites, learn more about the traditional land and ocean territories, Hesquiaht language, and to place names and reaffirm their connection to the land. Former residential school students were involved in the process through its entirety, as participants and facilitators. They will also have the opportunity to use the canoe, named Tsa'chi, which will be held at the Hesquiaht Outdoor School.

"Hupacasath Community Potlatch/Commemorative Walking Trail"

Project Lead: Hupacasath First Nation
Location: Port Alberni, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $41,500
Contact: (250) 724-4041

The Hupacasath First Nation is located near Port Alberni, British Columbia and is a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council. The Hupacasath First Nation hosted a community potlatch in August 2012 to revive the cultural vibrancy through traditional ceremonies, song and dance, honouring of former students and the preparation of traditional meals. They also created a community walking trail system to commemorate former residential school students. Interpretive signs and memorial plaques with inspirational words were placed along the trail and at places of rest such as benches and the dock.

"Truth Sharing and Learning"

Project Lead: Indian Residential School Survivors Society/ BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres
Location: West Vancouver, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $371,850
Contact: (604) 925-4464

The Indian Residential School Survivors Society is an Aboriginal, non-profit, charitable organization whose mandate is to empower former students of Indian Residential Schools to heal and move forward. They partnered with the BC Association of Friendship Centres to create graphics, posters, slide shows and "inter-generational trauma" pamphlets for twenty-five residential school mobile education exhibits that were delivered to twenty five Friendship Centres across British Columbia. The information is used in training staff and is distributed to the Aboriginal community as well as the general public. The project also held two-day youth and reconciliation gatherings entitled "Voice of Now" in Vancouver, Terrance and Kamloops and Kamloops. These gatherings were structured to explore and learn more about the inter-generational impacts of colonization and the Indian Residential Schools

"Kispiox Memorial Play Park"

Project Lead: Kispiox Band
Location: Hazelton, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (604) 842-0316

Kispiox is situated within the Gitksan Territory, at the junction of the Kispiox and Skeena Rivers. The Kispiox Band built a playground for children, attached to which was a "Reflective Circle" for caregivers and visitors to rest and reflect. Signage and plaques on the outside of the park indicate that this project is a memorial to former Residential School students. It was built in a grassy, spacious area beside the Band's Cultural/Tourist Centre.

"Cleansing Our Past for Future Generation"

Project Lead: Kwantlen First Nation
Location: Fort Langley, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (604) 888-2488

The Kwantlen First Nation is located in Fort Langley, British Columbia. To commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, the Kwantlen First Nation held a ceremonial canoe launch involving elders, former students and their family members in April 2013. A large traditional feast also took place, at which three wooden plaques were made, depicting symbols to represent moving forward in a good way. A traditional/commemorative House Post was carved and placed in a sacred place in the community where it can be viewed by all. Trees were also planted along the Frazer River in honour of former students.

"Healing and Reconciliation Event"

Project Lead: Lower Post Residential School Survivors
Location: Lower Post, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $492,405
Contact: (250) 778-3181

The Kaska Dena community of Lower Post, located on the Alaska Highway in Northern British Columbia, hosted a four-day cultural gathering at the site of the Lower Post Residential School to commemorate the experiences of former students of Residential School from the sixteen affected communities in Northern British Columbia and Yukon. This event was held from August 10-13, 2012 and was an opportunity for former students and their families to jointly honour their experiences through traditional ceremonies and healing workshops. The event was filmed and made available on DVD for distribution to schools and libraries, and made available for purchase. Commemorative carvings were also be created by an artist from each of the First Nations (Kaska Dena, Taku River Tlingit and Tahltan First Nation) as a permanent legacy to the courage and strength of former Residential School students.

"Intergenerational Healing Project"

Project Lead: Musqueam Indian Band
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (604) 269-3371

The Musqueam Inter-generational Healing Project engaged two multi-generational families in honoring and in their sharing residential school experiences. The two-part initiative followed the families as they embarked on the beginning of a self-awareness journey, through stages of healing to witness the successes, strengths and hopes that continue to flourish across generations. . Additionally, the Musqueam Indian Band created a garden of native plants to be used as a reflective space and commissioned a monument to be placed in the garden.

"Syilx Commemoration Initiative"

Project Lead: Okanagan Nation Alliance
Location: Westbank, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $350,000
Contact: (250) 707-0095

The Okanagan Nation Alliance is the Tribal Council representing seven member bands of the Syilx people. This project allowed for the creation of a Nation Memorial Monument commemorating all Syilx former students, constructed at the Okanagan Nation Fish Hatchery and was unveiled in May 2013. Each of the seven bands, the Okanagan Indian Band, the Upper Nicola Band, the Westbank First Nation, the Penticton Indian Band, the Osoyoos Indian Band and the Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands have built traditional Syilx structures honouring former students in their communities. A series of ten interviews were conducted with former students that led to the creation of a ten minute film about the residential school experience. A Nation Commemoration Book was created to educate people about what Indian Residential Schools mean to the Sylix people.

Old Massett Memorial Totem

Project Lead: Old Massett Village Council
Location: Massett, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (250) 626-3337

On behalf of the Old Massett Residential School Survivors' group, and in keeping with centuries-old Haida tradition, the Old Massett Village Council commissioned and erected a 30-foot Memorial Totem Pole as a commemoration project to tell the Indian Residential School story. The pole was raised on June 21, 2012 for permanent display in the community.

"Healing 4 Nations"

Project Lead: Quesnel Tillicum Society
Location: Quesnel, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (250) 992-8347

The Quesnel Tillicum Society, a member of the Association of BC Friendship Centres, is a local organization devoted to meeting the needs of persons of First Nations ancestry in adjusting to the social, economic and cultural lifestyle of the community. The four Nations of Alexandria, Red Bluff, Nasko and Kluskus First Nations came together in March 2013 in a weekend-long event to raise awareness about the Indian residential school experience. The Society created a video of the event which was shown on the local cable station in Quesnel.

The Path to Healing & Empowerment of the Saik'uz Whut'en

Project Lead: Saik'uz First Nation
Location: Vanderhoof, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (250) 567-9293

The Saik'uz Whut'en First Nation is located on-reserve, nine kilometers south of Vanderhoof, British Columbia. On September 16, 2012, it held a commemorative healing potlatch, incorporating the concepts of acknowledgement, reconciliation, forgiveness and healing. The Saik'uz What'en First Nation translated the Prime Minister's Apology to former students of residential schools into the Danehl language, created a community quilt, and held healing workshops, talking circles, youth theatre groups. A park was created and a granite monument commemorating former students of Indian residential schools was unveiled to the community in June 2013.

"Commemorating the Past, Building the Future through Culture and Language"

Project Lead: Seabird Island Education Society
Location: Agassiz, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (604) 796-2177

In collaboration with the Seabird Island Community School, the Seabird Island Education Society created a carving to memorialize former Residential School students. The carving was commissioned from the adult education Carving I and II classes of Seabird College. Several courses were offered about the culture and language of the Sto:lo people such as Traditional Wellness, Sto:lo Arts and Crafts, fishing, hunting, Halqemeylen, cooking, Sto:lo design, drumming and singing. These courses were open to everyone, and continued throughout the entire year. The Seabird Island Education Society also partnered with local public schools to increase their level of understanding of the history of the Sto:lo people, focusing on Kindergarten to Grade 6.

"Honouring Our Children & Families"

Project Lead: Seabird Island Indian Band
Location: Agassiz, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact : (604) 796-2177

Seabird Island Band is a First Nations band located in a rural area approximately four miles east of Agassiz, British Columbia. They held a series of cultural activities to assist in healing and reconciliation, to honour families, and provide the opportunity to learn traditional teachings.

"Sts'ailes Heritage Trail and Legacy Vision"

Project Lead: Sts'ailes (Chehalis Indian Band)
Location: Agassiz, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (604)-796-2116

Sts'ailes (formerly known as the Chehalis Indian Band), is a semi-isolated Coast Salish community located approximately 100 kilometers east of Vancouver on the banks of the Harrison River. This community constructed a heritage trail and reconstructed a traditional longhouse. The trail forms part of an extensive trail network, rich with archaeological sites that were used by Sts'ailes people up until the 1940s. It is hoped that the sharing of stories and histories will begin the healing process for former residential school students and help them connect to the land in their traditional territories. The Band held a traditional groundbreaking ceremony to coincide with the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation.

"St. Mary's Legacy House Posts"

Project Lead: Sumas First Nation
Location: Abbottsford, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $ 200,000
Contact: (604)866-5794

The Sumas First Nation, in the community of Mission, British Columbia, and the surrounding First Nation communities, came together to commemorate the legacy of Indian Residential Schools in their communities. Together, they built a commemorative monument on the original site of St. Mary's Residential School site and held by a pole-raising ceremony that took place on May 26, 2012, marking the National Day of Healing and Reconciliation.

"The Story of Dancing Bear"

Project Lead: The Ernie Philip Residential School Healing & Reconciliation Society
Location: Tappen, British Columbia
Funding Amount: $50,000
Contact: (250) 835-2551

Ernie Philip (Dancing Bear) is an 81 year old Shuswap elder, a fancy dancer and an internationally-acclaimed speaker. For over 50 years, Dancing Bear has been sharing the wisdom of his culture to thousands, nationally and internationally. This project created a documentary entitled "The Story of Dancing Bear", the life journey of Ernie Philips, from his days as a young boy at Residential School to his life as a world-class artist named Dancing Bear. His story was shared using social media tools to raise awareness and to promote reconciliation.

"Nootka Spirit Camp and Community Barbecue"

Project Lead: The Land of Maquinna Cultural Society
Location: Gold River, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (250) 283-2594

The Land of Maquinna Cultural Society, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, was created to preserve, protect and interpret the history of the Nuu-chah-nulth people. The Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation hosted a ten-day Nootka Spirit Camp and community barbecue at Yuquot. The First Nation carved a traditional five-foot totem pole to commemorate the event. The pole was raised at Yuquot on August 12, 2012 in honour of their former students of residential schools.

T'it'q'et Residential School Survivors' Chronicles: Our History through records, stories and photographs

Project Lead: Ucwalmicw Centre Society
Location: Lillooet, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (250) 256-0101

The Ucwalmicz Centre Society is located in Lillooet, British Columbia. This project gathered and recorded stories and statements from former students of Indian residential schools for inclusion in the T'it'q'et Residential School Survivors' Chronicles scrapbook. The scrapbook was developed with former students of Indian residential schools, their families and youth, to preserve their stories for future generations. The scrapbook was shared throughout the community as a means of raising awareness of the legacy of Indian residential schools in the community. Additional events were on June 11, 2012, June 21, 2012, and on August 19, 2012 – T'it'q'et Resident School celebration.

"Toward Reversing Language Loss Due To Residential School through St'at'imc Language Documentation, Curriculum Development and Language/Culture Education"

Project Lead: Upper St'at'imc Language, Culture and Education Society
Location: Lillooet, British Columbia
Approved Funding: $100,000
Contact: (250) 256-7523

The Upper St'at'imc Language, Culture and Education Society is a leading force in developing and administering language and cultural programs in the Lillooet area, and is comprised of people of the six bands/communities that speak the northern dialect of the St'at'imc language. In the first phase of this project, former residential school students were provided the opportunity to learn or relearn the St'at'imc language from local fluent speakers.In the second phase, a residential school/language/culture curriculum was developed to be used at the grade 8 level and above. In the final phase, former residential school students' stories were documented through recorded interviews, and then provide to former students for use in developing the curriculum.


"Blood Tribe Commemorative Initiative"

Project Lead: Blood Tribe Department of Health
Location: Standoff, Alberta
Approved Funding: $300,000
Contact #: (403) 737-3933

The Blood Tribe/Kainai Indian Reserve, located in Southern Alberta, is the largest reserve in Canada, and is the site of two former Indian Residential Schools. On behalf of the seven Kainai communities, the Blood Tribe Department of Health commemorated the history of Indian Residential Schools with lasting legacies, designed and developed by each of the communities. The objective of each community's projects was to educate the public about the effect of Indian Residential Schools and to move toward reconciliation. Community initiatives included: the installation of a monument at Old Agency, a history book by the community of Standoff, and a time capsule by Fort Whoop-Up.

"Reconciling Self and Community through Healing Gardens"

Project Lead: Blue Quills First Nation College
Location: St. Paul, Alberta
Approved Funding: $49,600
Contact: (780) 645-4455

Blue Quills First Nation College is a leading educational institution for all students in various post-secondary fields of study. They have created a Healing Garden on the College campus to create a lasting and living legacy as an expression of strength and resiliency of former students of Residential Schools and Aboriginal communities. Collaboration from volunteers, students, elders, former students of residential schools and their families, along with the local communities was sought from the beginning and at every step along the way. A feast and ceremony was also held to unveil the gardens to the community.

"Displaying the Truth and Healing through Traditional Cree Ceremonies"

Project Lead: Ermineskin Tribal Enterprises/Ermineskin Cree Nation
Location: Hobbema, Alberta
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (780) 585-3065

The Ermineskin Tribal Enterprises is located on the Ermineskin Indian Reserve in Hobbema, Alberta. Ermineskin Tribal Enterprises unveiled a monument to commemorate the experiences of Ermineskin Residential School's former students and their families, and promoted Aboriginal languages, cultures, and traditional and spiritual values through traditional pipe and feast ceremonies in September 2012.

"To All My Grandchildren: Saddle Lake Cree Nation Residential School Legacy Book"

Project Lead: Saddle Lake Cree Nation
Location: Saddle Lake, Alberta
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: 1-800-396-2167

Saddle Lake Cree Nation is located in northeastern Alberta, close to the town of St. Paul. Saddle Lake developed a history book using Elders' stories, photographs and memorabilia gathered through interviews with former residential school students. This book entitled To All My Grandchildren: Saddle Lake Cree Nation Residential School Legacy Book will be used to provide a platform for advocacy, education, healing and reconciliation.

"Remembering our Ancestors"

Project Lead: Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Approved Funding: $24,835.18
Contact: (403) 233-8225

For over a decade, Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth has developed culturally based programs and strategies that empower and enrich the lives of urban Aboriginal youth residing in Calgary. On June 17, 2011, they hosted an Elders Dinner for former residential school students and guests. Well known local musicians entertained the crowd, and an honour song and jingle dress dance were featured at the dinner. Artwork was printed and given to three Calgary organizations to educate and inform the public about the residential school experience. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission was also on hand to gather statements from former students.


"First Annual Ahtahakoop First Nation Indian Residential School Survivor's Commemorative Walk and Memorial Monument Dedications Ceremony"

Project Lead: Ahtahakoop First Nation/Health Centre
Location: Shell Lake, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (306) 468-2747

In 2000, Ahtahakoop built a cross on Lonesome Pine Hill and a small chapel. However, due to a lack of funding, a monument could not be added. Ahtahakoop has recognized the need for a structure to honour and commemorate the history of all those who attended Indian Residential Schools, those who survived, and those who did not return home. Research was conducted to gather the names of the former students of residential schools and the monument design, part of which was adding solar powered lighting to the cross. On September 14, 2012, the cross was unveiled to the community, a memorial walk was held along with sweat lodges and a feast for the community.

"Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Commemorative Initiative"

Project Lead: Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc.
Location: North Battlefords, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $ 200,000
Contact: (306) 220-6942

Battlefords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc. is comprised of six First Nations and has a population of over 9000 members. They provided support to former students and their families with their healing journeys through a series of "Grief and Loss Awareness" and "Finding Our Identity" workshops, informational sessions and healing circles. Four white Pine pieces were selected to be dedicated to the healing journey of those who attended residential schools.

"For the Children - Awasisak Ohchi"

Project Lead: Cree Nations Treatment Haven
Location: Canwood, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $200,000
Contact: (306) 468-2072

Established in 1987, the Cree Nations Treatment Haven has treated approximately 2300 clients from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba. The Cree Nation Treatment Haven created an Indian Residential School Survivors Commemoration Gallery and houses historical documents on site. Several events took place at the gallery, such as traditional and contemporary art contests, healing circles and speaking events. Artist and former residential school student Ken Lonechild (White Buffalo First Nation) produced 18 original paintings that are displayed at the gallery. Written narratives for each painting provide unique insight into the residential school experience from the artist's perspective.

"Returning the Teachers Restoring the Balance"

Project Lead: Eagle Moon Health Office, Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region
Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (306) 766-7190

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region's Eagle Moon Health Office was established in 2005 to deliver health services to those living in Southern Saskatchewan. They hosted two family healing camps and a larger community gathering for former students of Residential Schools and their families at ceremonial grounds in Regina, Saskatchewan. Through the delivery of traditional healing practices and ceremonies, they created awareness and understanding of traditional healing in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities and helped individuals on their healing journeys.

"Buffalo: A Memorial"

Project Lead: George Poitras Memorial Foundation Inc.
Location: Ituna, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (306) 795-2491

The George Poitras Memorial Foundation Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 2008 by the family of George Poitras, to honour their father who attended the Fort Qu'Appelle Indian Residential School. The Foundation created a 60 minute video documentary called "Buffalo: A Memorial", about the life of George Poitras.

"Moving Beyond Our Past"

Project Lead: Kahkewistahaw Band
Location: Broadview, Saskatchewan
Funding Amount: $50,000
Contact #: 306-696-3291

The Kahkewistahaw Band is a Cree and Saulteaux Nation approximately 150 kilometers east of Regina, Saskatchewan. They hosted a number of events to honour former students of residential schools such as: a feast, a banquet with an apology from Presbyterian and or United Church representative, and they premiered the Kahkewistahaw Residential School Experience DVD. Copies of the DVD have been distributed to the school library to raise awareness with the youth to help them better understand their history, culture and identity.

"Journey to Healing"

Project Lead: Onion Lake Community Healing & Wellness Program
Location: Onion Lake, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (306) 344-5033

Onion Lake Treaty 6 First Nation sits on the border of Saskatchewan and Alberta. Onion Lake was the site of two residential schools, St. Anthony's Roman Catholic and St. Barnabas Anglican Residential Schools. They hosted several events which centered on healing and reconciliation such as: annual health walk and reunion of all former Indian residential school students, men & women's healing circles, medicine wheel teachings, traditional parenting skills to address the intergenerational effects of Indian Residential Schools, and the building of a monument on each of the residential school sites.

"Peepeekisis Elders Memorial Centre"

Project Lead: Peepeekisis First Nation
Location: Balcarres, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (306) 334-2573

Peepeekisis First Nation is located 85 kilometers north east of Regina, Saskatchewan. They renovated an existing building into an Elders Memorial Centre for Elders/former students and their families to connect and reflect on past experiences to promote healing in the community. Cultural and health programming at the Centre promotes traditional Cree culture and healthy living.

"Truth and Reconciliation Commission – Commemoration Initiative"

Project Lead: Wahpiimoostoosis – Starblanket Cree Nation #83
Location: Lebret, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (306) 332-3363

The Wahpiimoostoosis Healing Centre was created by the Starblanket Cree Nation and is known to be a healing and counseling centre for former students of Indian Residential Schools. They hosted a banquet to pay tribute to former residential school students from the Star Blanket Cree Nation who have passed on, as well as those who are still living. Traditional ceremonies promoted healing and reconciliation within the community. The First Nations University's School of Journalism recorded and created a DVD of the event to provide a lasting component to this commemoration initiative.

"Yellow Quill Commemorative Initiative"

Project Lead: Yellow Quill First Nation
Location: Yellow Quill, Saskatchewan
Approved Funding: $ 50,000
Contact: (306) 322-2281

Yellow Quill First Nation, Treaty 4, is located approximately 250 kilometers northeast of Saskatoon. They created an oral history project, hosted an opening ceremony and developed a permanent exhibit to commemorate and contribute to the healing process of this community's long history with Indian residential schools.


"Creating a New Legacy"

Project Lead: Brandon Friendship Centre Inc.
Location: Brandon, Manitoba
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (204) 726-1112

The Brandon Friendship Centre Inc. is an urban Aboriginal service delivery agency that has been in existence for over 45 years, aiding the Aboriginal population of southwestern Manitoba. They held a number of activities, including: a monthly 'Commemorative Elder's Coffee Club' for former students to come together and share stories and pictures; "Healing the Hurt" collection book comprised of statements from former students regarding their healing journey; monthly healing/sharing circles; health and wellness workshops; medicine picking; residential school awareness sessions; a National Day of Healing and Reconciliation plaque ceremony; an Indian Residential Schools Anniversary of the Apology Feast; a National Aboriginal Day celebration and a two-day Wellness Conference – Creating a New Legacy.

"Homecoming – A Sacred Circle"

Project Lead: Diocese of Rupert's Land and the Rupert's Land Aboriginal Circle
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Approved Funding: $15,000
Contact: (204) 992-4212

The Rupert's Land Aboriginal Circle is a committee of the Synod of the Incorporated Diocese of Rupert's Land, with the purpose of representing the concerns of Aboriginal Anglicans, showing governance in the Anglican Church, and living the principles of truth and reconciliation. They held a one and a half day Sacred Circle from June 15-16, 2012 for former residential school students, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participants, clergy, bishops, and other members of the community. This was an opportunity to develop sustainable mechanisms to ensure support is available for former students as they continue on their healing journey.

"Hollow Water Reconciliation Cultural Camp"

Project Lead: Hollow Water First Nation – Community
Location: Wanipigow, Manitoba
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (204) 363-7278

The Hollow Water First Nation is located approximately 190 kilometers north of Winnipeg. They held a six-day community gathering for former students of Residential School, their families and representatives from churches and government to share stories and participate in traditional activities. A monument was also built as a lasting legacy along with a feast and ceremonial unveiling.

"Indian Residential School Survivors Commemorative Gathering"

Project Lead: Peguis First Nation
Location: Peguis, Manitoba
Approved Funding: $89,574
Contact: (204) 645-2359

The Peguis First Nation hosted a three-day gathering on the Peguis Treaty Grounds and Pow Wow Arbor that included a series of talking circles, several guest speakers, workshops, traditional and contemporary artistic expressions, a feast and daily opening and closing ceremonies. The event also included a tree-planting ceremony, and the installation of a commemorative plaque to memorialize former students who have passed on.

Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation Commemoration Project

Project Lead: Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation
Location: Marius, Manitoba
Approved Amount: $50,000
Contact: (204) 645-2359

The Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation, through the committee of the Sandy Bay Health Centre and the Council of Elders, was approved for funding to hold several workshops/sharing circles in the community, a community-wide cultural camp to promote traditional teachings, medicines, and language, as well as a residential school memorial garden and pow wow.


"Ausubpeeshoseewagong Netum Anishnabek Residential School Commemorative Project"

Project Lead: Ausubpeeshoseewagong Netum Anishnabek
Location: Grassy Narrows, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (807) 925-2647

Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishnabek (also known as Grassy Narrows First Nation) is located approximately 100 kilometers northwest of Kenora, Ontario. Grassy Narrows First Nation designed and erected a monument engraved with approximately 300 names of former residential school students. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held to unveil the commemorative monument, followed by a traditional feast, speeches, healing ceremonies, story-telling and traditional give away to the former students, elders and distinguished guests.

"A Journey of Healing & Rebuilding 2012: Gathering & Conference"

Project Lead: Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association
Location: Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Approved Funding: $ 200,000
Contact: (705) 942-9422

The Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association is a non-profit organization mandated to provide for the well-being of the Children of Shingwauk Alumni who are former students of the former Shingwauk and Wawanosh Indian Residential Schools. They held a gathering for former students and their families to raise public awareness about the effects of Indian residential schools. Stories, photographs and other materials gathered will contribute to those collected by the Children of Shingwauk Alumni Association over the last 30 years.

"Mount Elgin Memorial Commemoration"

Project Lead: Chippewas of the Thames First Nation
Location: Muncey, Ontario
Approved Funding: $500,000
Contact: (519) 289-5555

The Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, located approximately 20 kilometers southwest of London, Ontario, held a regional event to include ten First Nation communities. They constructed a permanent memorial, including a garden with benches on the grounds of the former Mount Elgin Residential School, as a place of healing and reconciliation. The unveiling of the monument was followed by a commemoration and recognition ceremony to raise awareness and promote healing within communities.

"Garden River Residential School Initiative"

Project Lead: Garden River First Nation
Location: Garden River, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (705) 946-6300

The Garden River First Nation held several activities to pay tribute to former residential school students  in their community. Several dinners, luncheons and a pancake breakfast were held to allow former students the opportunity to gather and share stories amongst themselves as well as with the youth.  Traditional craft-making was offered such as rattle-making, sewing, and stone painting, which also incorporated traditional teachings. Former students were also invited to attend excursions that encouraged socializing and self–care, while also providing an opportunity for input into a commemorative plaque design. The plaque was unveiled to the community with a dinner for their families and invited guests.

"Noodjmwag" Project"

Project Lead: Maadookii Seniors Group & Centre
Location: Wiarton, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (519) 534-1689

The Maadookii Seniors Group & Centre was founded in 1990 to develop programs that meet the needs of seniors and their caregivers on reserve. A reprint of 235 copies of three 'Elders of Neyaashiinigamiing" books containing the stories of elders, many of whom discuss their Indian residential school experiences was completed and distributed to former students, libraries and schools in the community. Two 'Common Ground' dinners were held, bringing together Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, former students of Indian Residential Schools, church leaders, politicians, and historians. An archival project collected photos, family trees, birth and death certificates, newspaper articles from the 1850's and more. The archival work was presented to the community at an "End of Project" dinner, to honour former residential school students.

"Nebenaigoching Cultural Festival and Commemoration"

Project Lead: Nebenaigoching Heritage Inc.
Location: Batchawawana Bay, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (705) 882-1611

Nebenaigoching Heritage Inc. was founded by former residential school student and hereditary Chief Edward Nebenaigoching in 2000, in an effort to preserve and promote Anishnabe language, heritage and culture. This two-day conference featured motivational presentations, traditional circles, and an honouring ceremony for former students/native veterans, as well as a traditional round dance.

"North Bay Indian Friendship Centre – Commemorative Initiative"

Project Lead: North Bay Indian Friendship Centre
Location: North Bay, Ontario
Approved Funding: $36,277
Contact: (705) 472-2811

The North Bay Friendship Centre has as its mission to improve the quality of life for First Nation, Métis, and Inuit people in the urban environment of North Bay. They expanded the scope of the Annual "Maamwi Kindaaswin Festival", to focus on the history of Indian Residential Schools. This festival was marked by the unveiling of two commemorative art pieces and an Eagle Staff.

"Spanish Residential School Commemoration Gatherings"

Project Lead: Spanish Residential School Legacy Association
Location: Spanish, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: 705-261-1319

The Spanish Residential School Legacy Association, in partnership with representatives of local First Nations, the town of Spanish, the United Church Healing Fund and the Jesuits of Canada held a gathering based upon holistic healing approaches that addressed spiritual, mental, emotional and physical components. Activities included: daily sweat lodges, talking/healing circles, a Roman Catholic mass conducted by ordained Anishnaabe Ministers and commemoration ceremonies for two monuments. There was also an opportunity for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to collect stories from former students in attendance in a safe, secure environment.

"Attawapiskat Commemoration Committee"

Project Lead: Dr. Jacqueline Hookima-Witt
Location: Attawapiskat, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (705) 997-2145

The Attawapiskat First Nation is a Mushkegowuk (Swampy Cree) community on the Ontario James Bay coast. They held several activities to inform the community about Indian Residential Schools and to encourage understanding, healing and reconciliation. Activities included: cultural and healing workshops; the production of a video documentary containing interviews with elders, former residential school students their families; and the creation of a photo book with a collection of historic photos. A stained-glass window permanently memorialized former residential school students.

"Mamowpiimoosaywilin" – "Walking Forward Together"

Project Lead: Webequie Residential School Survivor Team
Location: Webequie, Ontario
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (807) 353-1263

The Webequie First Nation is an isolated Oji-Cree community situated approximately 540 kilometers north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. They hosted a two-week camping event to honour and celebrate former residential school students. The camp was located about 10km outside of the community in Peetonagang. People were able to camp out, take part in sweat lodges, sharing circles, drumming and feasting as well as sharing stories. A stone cairn was designed and developed with an accompanying brass plaque to permanently commemorate the Webequie First Nation's residential school history.


"Mamawandjihidinan (Meeting place where we come together to talk)"

Project Lead: Anicinabe Mikana
Location: Temiskcaming, Quebec
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (819) 627-1962

Anicinabe Mikana is a cultural group recognized by the leadership of Eagle Village First Nation-Kipawa and is comprised of former Indian Residential School students and descendents of former residential school students. To honour and pay tribute to former residential school students, their families and communities, Anicinabe Mikana constructed a traditional structure and surrounding gardens to restore the culture, traditional ways and language of the Eagle Village First Nation. The unveiling ceremony of this structure and garden took place on November 7, 2013.

" Semaine culturelle et de réconciliation de Natashquan"

Project Lead: Conseil des Montagnais et Comité de réconciliation de Natashquan
Location : Natashquan, Cte Dupleasis, Quebec
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (418) 781-2545

The Conseil des Montagnais and the Comité de réconciliation de Natashquan hosted a number of commemorative events during the summer of 2011 that included a series of cultural activities and ceremonies, an art fair that showcases the work of local Aboriginal artists, and a large pow wow gathering to help the Innu of Montagnais reconnect with their culture, values and traditions.

"Projet Citoyen de Rencontre"

Project Lead: Initiatives et Changement
Location: LaSalle, Quebec
Approved Funding: $30,000
Contact: (613) 230-7197

Initiatives of Change Canada and Initiatives et Changements, Quebec chapter are non-profit organizations that work on the principle that dialogue is the basis for sustainable change in society. From January 2012 to March 2013, the Quebec chapter held three dialogue circles with participants from Francophone, Anglophone and Aboriginal communities in Montreal, Quebec City and Victoriaville. They were successful in creating dialogue, building trust and promoting awareness around the legacy of Indian residential schools and its effects on Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities in Quebec.


"Wela'liek tan telnutuiek/Thank you for hearing our voices"

Project Lead: Aboriginal Survivors for Healing Inc.
Location: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
Approved Funding: $46,401
Contact: (902) 368-8498

The Aboriginal Survivors for Healing Inc. is a not-for-profit organization mandated to provide services and support to former students of the Shubenacadie Residential School and their families residing on Prince Edward Island. They hosted a three-day gathering on Prince Edward Island to honour former students, and crafted a quilt to depict memories of the Shubenacadie Residential School as a permanent memorial to former Residential School students. A feast marked the installation of the memorial at Province House, the provincial legislature, bringing together former Residential School students and their families from Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

"Mawiomi 2012 – A Healing Gathering"

Project Lead: Mi'kmaq Association for Cultural Studies
Location: Sydney, Nova Scotia
Approved Funding: $175,000
Contact: (902) 565-8176

The Mi'kmaq Association for Cultural Studies is a not-for-profit organization representing the interests of Nova Scotia's thirteen First Nation communities and is mandated to promote and preserve Mi'kmaq culture. The Mi'kmaq Association for Cultural Studies hosted "Mawiomi 2012 – A Healing Gathering".  This event included an opening healing ceremony, a cultural village, a day devoted to education, a meditation teepee, Mi'kmaq Nation musical tribute, the premiere of a documentary entitled 'The Mi'kmaq People: A Story of Survival', a legacy scroll for the public to sign, and a birthday party to celebrate the birthdays of all former residential school students who never had the opportunity to celebrate their birthdays.

"We Carry Each Other's Memories"

Project Lead: Mi'Kmaq Maliseet Healing Networking Centre – Mawiw Council Inc.
Location: Fredericton, New Brunswick
Approved Funding: $ 150,000
Contact: (506) 363-4641

The Mi'kmaq Maliseet Healing Networking Centre is an initiative of the Mawiw Council Inc., and undertakes healing, outreach, public education and research activities to address the healing needs of former Indian residential school students and their families in the three largest First Nation communities in New Brunswick. They developed a travelling exhibit and established a permanent structure in the communities of Tobique, Elsipogtog and Esgenoopetitj (Burnt Church) to commemorate former students of Shubenacadie Indian Residential School. The opening ceremonies took place on June 11, 2012 (Elsipogtog), June 21, 2012 (Esgenoopetitj and July 13, 2012 (Tobique). As well, they established an Indian Residential School Resource Centre, created a DVD entitled "We Carry Each Other's Memories" and held cultural ceremonies and spiritual activities to unveil the resource centre, exhibit and community structures.

"Shubenacadie Residential School Commemoration Project"

Project Lead: Shubenacadie Band Council
Location: Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia
Funding Amount: $500,000
Contact: (902) 236-3444

Shubenacadie First Nation is located approximately eight kilometers from the town of Shubenacadie, Nova Scotia and is the second largest First Nation community in Nova Scotia. The First Nations Centre of Balance and Resilience hosted a three-day conference on behalf of Shubenacadie First Nation. The event was held from September 12-14, 2012 in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and included workshops, speakers and a feast.


"The Journey to Freedom"

Project Lead: Dene Nation
Location: Yellowknife, Northwest Territories
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (867) 473-4081

The Dene Nation is an Aboriginal Governmental Organization serving the 30 Dene Chiefs and communities in Denendeh, Northwest Territories. They undertook a number of events to contribute toward the healing and reconciliation of the Northwest Territories, including: the construction of a permanent monument structure with information about the historic residential school that was established in Fort Providence; the creation of ‘Remembrance Day' for past and present former students of Fort Providence, including all other Indian residential schools in the North; and the creation of a ceremonial monument as sacred grounds and a place of spiritual gathering for future generations.

"2012 Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Cultural Camp"

Project Lead: Kitikmeot Heritage Society
Location: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (867) 983-3009

The Kitikmeot Heritage Society is an Inuit controlled non-profit organization whose mandate is to aid in the preservation and promotion of Inuit culture and language through traditional activities that are both healing and empowering to all those affected by the residential school era in the Cambridge Bay region. In February 2012, they held a ten-day cultural revitalization camp called the "2012 Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Cultural Camp".  The camp included activities such as reproducing traditional Inuit art workshops, survivor skills to live off the land, igloo building and food preparation. Former students of residential schools , youth and elders worked together with a cinematographer to document the activities and gather interviews relating to experiences of both elders and former residential school students. 

"Commemorating Our Past – Carving Our Future"

Project Lead: Northern Cultural Expressions Society
Location: Whitehorse, Yukon
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (867) 333-9960

The Northern Cultural Expressions Society is a Yukon-based non-profit organization that manages and administers the Sundog Studio and gallery. Together, they carved a 30-foot healing totem pole on First Nation traditional territory, in honour of former residential school students and their families. They also held a traditional ceremony for the raising and installation of the totem pole.

"Ross River Prayer Circle Memorial"

Project Lead: Ross River Dena Council
Location: Ross River, Yukon
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contract: (867) 969-2278

The Ross River Dena Council, located about 360 kilometers northeast of Whitehorse, Yukon, provides governance for the Kaska Dena community of Ross River and its traditional territory in the Yukon. They built a permanent Prayer Memorial Circle using a mix of traditional and contemporary art. The circle consists of bronze faces of 4 elders, bronzed carved drum skins and metal strikers and walking sticks. This culturally functional monument honours the experiences of former students of residential schools and provides a place of traditional healing for the community.

"Inuvialuit Settlement Regional Drum Dance – Workshop & Performance"

Project Lead: Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation
Location: Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories
Approved Funding: $50,000
Contact: (867) 977-2189

The Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation is located in the community of Tuktoyaktuk, one of the six Inuvialuit settlement communities along the coastal peninsula on the Beaufort Sea. In April 2012, they hosted a series of cultural drum dance workshops including: sharing circles, gospel sing-alongs, and the passing down of traditional knowledge from elders to youth.

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