Downtown Saskatoon was a sea of orange Tuesday to raise awareness around the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action.
The Saskatoon Tribal Council (STC) led over 100 people through downtown. Tribal Chief Mark Arcand said more people have been willing to listen since the discovery of unmarked graves at residential schools in the province.
Still, he said systems need to change, including child and family services and education in the Prairies.
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“Learning about Columbus and Macbeth is not doing justice to our people,” Arcand said.
“We’ve got to learn about education this day and age and how we work from this so it never ever happens to any child in this province, in this country, in this world.”
Many organizations and local figures joined the march, including the Roman Catholic Dioses of Saskatoon.
Bishop Mark Hagemoen said he wants to support those hurting and offer healing for past mistakes.
“We need to build and not break down,” said Hagemoen.
“We need to move from anger which is understandable and all the sentiments that come with why did people do this and our history to how do we move forward and help people heal.”
Saskatoon mayor Charlie Clark said Indigenous voices need to be reflected within the city.
“We need to really recognize the people who are homeless and on our streets are people who in many cases are suffering the effects of residential schools,” he said.
“We need better programs working with the tribal council and other organizations to support people.”
Donna Heimbecker’s grandmother attended residential school. She said Canada is in for more pain as more unmarked graves are found, before healing from the legacy can begin.
“The reality is going to be exponential for people to grasp,” she said.
“It’s really hard to grasp as a mother, and a grandmother, and a descendent of a survivor but it’s something that has to be done.”
The STC said they has more awareness events planned in the coming months.