‘It will be here for generations to come’: New garden at Manitoba Legislature honours residential school students

A new garden honouring the children who attended residential schools in the country has now been planted at the Manitoba Legislature.

The garden was planted as a more permanent fixture, replacing the flags that were in display on the north side of the legislative grounds.

The garden is located on the south side of the building and features a mix of orange annuals and perennials, like lilies, roses and marigolds.

Tara Martinez with the Children First Society of Canada said she was happy to see the government take the idea of the flags and make a permanent display.

“To us, it’s a memorial, but it also to pay homage to our survivors to let them know that we hear them,” said Martinez.

She said residential schools impacted so many people and it’s important to have these reminders to teach future generations.

“This will be here long after we are in the ground and it will be here for generations to come to also remind them.”

Michael Yellowwing Kannon, a 60s Scoop survivor, said this is the type of monument that people should see on the grounds of the Legislature.

“(There) are many memorials and monuments (here). You have the Holocaust memorial, you have the memorial for the victims of war. Now we have a new one, the victims of the residential school system. It’s great that we have permanent presence here now, because it’s been such a conflict,” said Kannon.

Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister James Teitsma said this is the first step of the garden, as a bench and plaque are also planned to be unveiled in the area.

“Should be ready later this spring, before the summer, we should have it ready. I will continue to monitor that and make sure it comes to fruition,” said Teitsma.

Just like the other monuments on the grounds, Teitsma added it was important to ensure this garden was inviting but also provided the educational aspects so people can understand the significance behind the permanent fixture.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has documented 6,000 children died across the country while attending residential school and at least 338 died at schools in Manitoba.

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