The new garden at the Manitoba Legislature honouring residential school victims

Work is underway on a new garden at the Manitoba legislature honouring the memory of the thousands children who died attending residential schools across Canada.

A display of orange “Every Child Matters” flags have been moved to the south side of the legislative grounds over the weekend. The flags will serve as placeholders until a mix of orange annuals and perennials – such as lilies, roses, and marigolds – are planted as part of a permanent memorial.

The province said organizers of the flag display and an elder were consulted on the project.

“It has been our absolute honour taking on the task of installing and maintaining the Every Child Matters flag display. We could have never predicted the immense impact that our actions would have on the community,” said Tara Martinez, co-organizer of the display installation in a news release. “Over the last two years, many Indigenous and non-Indigenous supporters of the Children First Society of Canada have helped to make this happen, proving that although we don’t always agree on past transgressions, we can choose to move forward in a positive way.”

A memorial plaque and bench will also be installed in the garden later this spring.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada has documented 6,000 children who died while attending residential schools across the country. The commission estimates that of the 6,000 documented deaths, 338 children died while attending such schools in Manitoba. However, the true number of children who died while attending these institutions is likely much higher.

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