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Creative reconciliation

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Amanda Tanner and community members met on a Wednesday (Sept. 1). On this day their finished creative reconciliation installation project was finished and with the help of Crestview Electric LTD. the art display was hung up at the front of George Lane Memorial Park.

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The two long pieces of orange-toned fibre art is a visual honouring or acknowledgement, for residential school survivors.

The group has been meeting each Thursday to talk about, be supportive and work on the art project since news hit (May 2021) of the discovered remains of hundreds of Indigenous children outside of several residential schools across B.C. and Sask.

As a mother herself, Tanner said she felt incredibly heartbroken and compelled to honour the survivors. After looking inward for ways she could help, she landed on what she’s already doing—creating art and building community through that experience.

The government is currently looking at graves across the country to see if more children have been buried.

“It has a big impact on all of us- Indigenous and non-Indigenous,” said Tanner.

“I wanted to create a place where people can go somewhere to connect with it.”

Tanner says people can come down and tie their ribbon to the orange banners if they so wish.

“I wanted to connect with people in the community and talk about this and have a place to navigate these feelings – anger and discomfort. This has been an under acknowledged part of our history and it’s a really important one that we are trying to process,” she said.

Tanner mentioned that she has met a bunch of great people and new friends when they have met on Thursdays at the park.

The George Lane Memorial Park, which sits on treaty seven territory, was chosen because it’s already a designated space where people go to gather, said Tanner. She said she likes the entrance because it’s very visible whether you’re going to the park or just walking by.

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The art display will be on display at the front of George Lane Park throughout September and the group will continue to meet every Thursday in front of the Gazebo.

September is significant because Sept. 31 is residential school awareness day. It also coincides with Alberta culture days (Sept. 1 to 30), where activities will be taking place in the park.

Also, Treaty 7 was signed on Sept. 22 in 1877.

Tanner is working on another art piece with folks in the community, which will be displayed in the same park over the month of September. It’s called the unity weaving project.

On Sept. 12, Tanner plans to have Siksika Elder and Blackfoot woman Shirley Hill dance and speak about residential schools and reconciliation starting at 11 a.m. in the George Lane Memorial Park during the celebration of Alberta culture days.

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