Royal Canadian Mint unveils keepsake to honour residential school survivors and victims

The Royal Canadian Mint, in partnership with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, unveiled a new keepsake on Thursday that represents the truth behind the residential school experience.

The keepsake is aimed at educating Canadians about the impacts of residential, day and boarding schools, with net proceeds going to the Na-mi-quai-ni-mak Community Support Fund. It is also intended to create conversations about the impacts of these schools, the conditions that created them, and how Canadians can turn reflection into reconciliation.

Both sides of the keepsake include imagery that reflects First Nations, Inuit and Métis teachings and art forms. The design comes from a collaboration between artists Leticia Spence, Jason Sikoak, and JD Hawk, as well as survivors.

To symbolize First Nations culture, one side of the keepsake includes an image of the sun, traditional teepee lodgings, a tikanagan, which is a cradleboard, held by two people, a fireweed flower, and a triangular motif inspired by the designs of rawhide carrying bags.

To represent the Inuit perspective, this side of the keepsake includes images of traditional tattoo line work, the northern lights, a brother and sister, and an ulu, which is a traditional curved knife.

The Métis nation is also represented on this side of the keepsake with images of a Métis sash, a beadwork flower, a bison, and an infinity symbol.

The other side of the keepsake features the words ‘Every Child Matters,’ inscribed in English and French. It also features images of footprints and orange-coloured handprints forming the shape of the sun. Inside the hands is a flame motif from the logo of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. The hands are encircled by a border that represents the waves of the sun’s light and heat.

By wearing these keepsakes, Canadians can show that they stand with survivors and remember the children who never made it home. It also symbolizes a person’s commitment to learning the truth and carrying out acts of reconciliation.

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