Indigenous Student Services in collaboration with the Social Work Diploma Program and the Student’s Association of Red Deer Polytechnic are inviting students, faculty, staff and community members to contribute to an upcoming event that will be bringing awareness to the residential school experience and the unmarked graves of Indigenous children that are being found. We are also encouraging that this be an opportunity to share, educate and gather contributions from family and friends where appropriate.

A feather template (attached) can be used for your contribution and is available for pick up and drop off in the Gathering Place on campus at RDP (next to the main security desk) throughout the next 2 weeks with a suggested deadline of Friday, November 12th by 5pm.

Community members can connect with Talitha to have feather templates dropped off and for pick-up arrangements if required.

Feathers can also be completed in the Gathering Space. In creating a feather, we ask that it is done in the spirit of Truth and Reconciliation and with a positive intention towards a transformative and meaningful relationship with Indigenous peoples’, but also in honour and memory for the Indigenous children who did not survive their residential school experience.                

This event is also timely in the fact that the Red Deer Industrial School grounds are currently being searched for unmarked graves and the bodies of children that have yet to be found. The results from this search are anticipated in the next few weeks.

Please create in a way that speaks to yourself and your intention, some ideas include: Using the feather template to draw, colour, leave a message, create a collage, paint and so forth. Feel free to use all the space that is available on the page. Consider the following when creating your feather:

  • What is your message to the children whose lives were lost? Their families and communities? How might you portray this in words or art.
  • What needs to be done on the path to Truth and Reconciliation?

Other pieces are acceptable on other materials as long as they are appropriate to being burned in a fire. Pieces are being collected to be displayed on November 15 in the Forum from 10 am to 2 pm. The feathers with all of their pictures, words and positive intentions will then be burned in a Fire of Intention with an Indigenous elder, to essentially release these individual and collective intentions, that will take place at some point in the coming weeks. The Fire of Intention will take place at 1 pm on Friday, November 19 in the Forum Courtyard.

For more information on this timely topic please consider watching the short video Searching for the Unmarked Graves of Indigenous Children which can be accessed HERE

Questions? Please contact Talitha Klym, Indigenous Student Services Generalist at [email protected] or 403-357-3672