Sagkeeng backs St. B residential school student monument


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A monument commemorating students who died at the former St. Boniface Industrial School is in the planning stages.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/09/2021 (328 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A monument commemorating students who died at the former St. Boniface Industrial School is in the planning stages.

“I think the biggest thing right now is just the significance of recognizing the residential school, the hardships the people went through,” Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Derrick Henderson said Wednesday.

Many Sagkeeng children were forced to attend the Winnipeg institution, which operated on Des Meurons Street from 1889 to 1905.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Chief Derrick Henderson of Sagkeeng First Nation arrives for a ceremony at Winnipeg City Hall Wednesday morning.

Henderson confirmed he’s been discussing a new monument with the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Boniface, to be erected at St. Boniface Cathedral cemetery on Tache Avenue. According to a grassroots research effort, some 70 residential school students may be buried there.

Henderson doesn’t know what shape the memorial will take.

“When we did our school, I let the community look at how the school design was going to be, so I want this to be the same thing,” he said. “We have a lot of good Aboriginal artists in our community, so I’m sure they’ll come up with something.”

The chief expects the monument to be up in a year or two; there’s no set timeline. First, Henderson wants to locate the children’s bodies; crews have searched the cemetery for two months.

It’s not unusual for a cathedral cemetery to house unmarked graves, Archbishop Albert LeGatt told the Free Press earlier this month.

Although 6,000 people are buried in the cemetery, only a few hundred have headstones, he said.

with files from John Longhurst

Gabrielle Piché

Gabrielle Piché

Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.

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