MKO Vice Chief David Monias.

“I’m very thankful for the Legacy Group and what they are doing…

The only way we can start to decolonize but also to undo the things that were done to our people is to start to educate, promote our culture, promote our languages, and promote our ceremonies. Those are the things that really, really matter to us.

The Doctrine of Discovery, we wanted to renounce, we wanted the Pope to renounce it and we are hoping the leaders will also renounce that. We were the original inhabitants here and we welcomed you… our way is sharing, our way is about relationship building for the benefit of all people.”

~MKO Vice Chief David Monias, Chief of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, spoke at the ground-breaking ceremony yesterday morning in Treaty One territory in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Survivors and dignitaries gathered to break ground for the Assiniboia Residential School Commemorative Monument and Gathering Place. This space is set to open on September 30, 2022, and it honours the vision of the late Theodore Fontaine, who was a former student at the Assiniboia Residential School, which operated in the River Heights neighbourhood of Winnipeg from 1958 to 1973.

The work being done by the Assiniboia Residential School Legacy Group honours all Survivors as well as those who didn’t make it home from residential schools.

Vice Chief Monias was pleased to see Elder Betty Ross, a Survivor and storyteller from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation, at the event. He joined Elder Ross and others in offering tobacco to the earth in prayer to honour those who didn’t make it home from residential schools.

If you would like to learn more about the Assiniboia Residential School and the students who attended, you can read their stories in the 2021 book called Did You See Us? Reunion, Remembrance, and Reclamation at an Urban Indian Residential School. You can find more information about the book here.