Ceremony commemorates aboriginal children’s cemetery

The third commemoration ceremony of the century-old cemetery for aboriginal children from a Red Deer residential school was held on Saturday.

The third commemoration ceremony of the century-old cemetery for aboriginal children from a Red Deer residential school was held on Saturday.

The ceremony took place on the grounds of Sunnybrook United Church.

It was attended by the Remembering the Children Society, descendents of former students of the residential school, Mayor Morris Flewwelling, Red Deer North MLA Mary Anne Jablonski, MP Earl Dreeshen and a long list of members, dignitaries and elders from a number of Central Alberta First Nation communities.

The cemetery is located on the north bank of the Red Deer River, directly across from the Fort Normandeau site, just west of Red Deer.

As in the previous two years, a feast ceremony was held to honour the children buried at the old Red Deer Industrial School cemetery.

The children, mainly from Stony, Cree and Métis communities, would have attended the Red Deer Industrial School, which operated from 1893 to 1919.

But the ceremony was also about bringing attention to First Nations heritage, said Charles Wood, who was a former student of the Blue Quill Indian Residential School near the town of St. Paul from 1946 to 1952.

He used the word “Indian” as an example, saying that when Christopher Columbus discovered America he thought he reached India and referred to the indigenous people as Indians.

“That name has stuck with us,” Wood said.

“We are not Indians. I am Cree.”

The fourth and final Remembering the Children ceremony will be held next year and organizers hope it will be a much larger event that will coincide with the Regional Truth and Reconciliation event in Alberta.

Jarrid Poitras, president of the Remembering the Children Society, said the cemetery, discovered in 2005, should be preserved in history.

He vowed to make sure future generations know about the site.

“Those were our ancestors and this is our story and our healing,” he said.

Muriel Stanley Venne, vice-president of the Remembering the Children Society, who also brought greetings from the Métis Nation of Alberta, added to what Poitras had to say in that the ceremony also serves as a reminder about the women who lost their children.

The society has evolved from a working group that focused on the recovery and commemoration of the cemetery but the group also hopes to create public awareness about residential school history.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Food Truck Fridays to start new Drive and Dash events next week

Events will be held in Westerner Park parking lot Thursday evenings, Friday afternoons all June

Alberta gov’t to expand mental health supports

The Government of Alberta says a $21.6-million investment will expand online resources… Continue reading

City of Red Deer encouraged residents to participate in Food Bank Ninja Challenge

The City of Red Deer is encouraging residents to participate in a… Continue reading

READER VIDEO: American White Pelicans spotted in Red Deer River

A Red Deer Advocate reader spotted a group of American White Pelicans… Continue reading

Protesters rally in Toronto against anti-black, Indigenous racism

TORONTO — Thousands of people are taking part in a rally on… Continue reading

Another COVID-19 case reported in northern New Brunswick on Saturday

CAMPBELLTON, N.B. — People from a city in northern New Brunswick lined… Continue reading

B.C. sees second day in a row with no COVID-19 deaths as schools ready to reopen

VICTORIA — British Columbia announced no new deaths from COVID-19 for the… Continue reading

UN sets pandemic voting rules for Canada’s Security Council campaign

OTTAWA — The United Nations has confirmed that the election for non-permanent… Continue reading

Police watchdog investigating death of Richmond man

RICHMOND, B.C. — British Columbia’s police watchdog has been called in to… Continue reading

COVID-19 cancelled their wedding plans, so they married on a B.C. mountaintop

Ceremony was live streamed to friends and family around the world

Tooting the importance of whistling

OK, so someone who tattles on another person is a whistleblower, and… Continue reading

Police see increase in speedy drivers on quieter streets during pandemic

Police across the country say they’ve been dealing with more complaints about loud, fast vehicles

Most Read