St. Aloysius parish in Allan, Saskatchewan held a Truth and Reconciliation workshop on Wednesday, June 6th in preparation for the National event occurring in Saskatoon. The workshop was hosted by the St. Aloysius Allan Catholic Women’s League and supported by the Allan Knights of Columbus.
During the workshop, facilitator, Lynette Brossart presented some of the history of the Indian Residential Schools and the experiences of survivors. In commemoration, those in attendance participated in the “Project of Heart” endeavor. Participants decorated a number of tiles – each tile honouring the life of one child who died as a result of the residential school experience. As a form of reconciliation, all were invited to sign two petitions to support justice for all First Nations. The petitions were: “Stolen Sisters” and “Amnesty International and to Endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Volunteers for the Truth and Reconciliation National Event came forward during the workshop. Participants could take pamphlets and other information home for further use.
The decorated tiles were sent to Ottawa and after the smudging they will be sent to the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg to become part of history. The creator, founder, and co-ordinator of the project, Governor General award-winning teacher Sylvia Smith, was born and raised in Allan and graduated from Allan School, so the workshop participants have a community connection to her.
One C.W.L. participant, Beatrice Brossart had this to say: “ Passion and empathy were felt as we decorated the tiles in memory of the dear children who lost their lives. As a follow-up, we accomplished the important social justice piece of putting words into actions. It was important to do our part, to show that we too wished to help deal with the injustices of what happened. Moving forward, …may we all live in ONE SPIRIT with UNITY FOR ALL!”