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This article was published 13/9/2021 (256 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
In her handmade thunderbird jingle dress, Tracy Fiddler danced in a pop-up powwow that brought to mind past, present and future generations.
"When I dance, I think of other people," she said. "I think about the ones that are struggling. Our children, our youth, our adults, our homeless here."
Fiddler was among more than 100 people who gathered at Vimy Ridge Park Sunday afternoon for an Every Child Matters pop-up powwow in honour of residential school survivors and those who were taken from their families during the Sixties Scoop. It’s the second such event held at the park to coincide with Sunday cruise night along Portage Avenue — participants were encouraged to decorate their vehicles in orange to join a car rally in remembrance of children who died at residential schools.
Fiddler, a Sixties Scoop and Indian Day School survivor, said it’s important events like these happen regularly "so it’s not forgotten about, it’s not swept under the carpet (by saying) ‘OK, the Indigenous people, they’ve had their day, now let’s just ignore them.’"
Diandra Powderhorn, one of the organizers of the event, which runs on volunteer donations, said they’d like to keep running it as often as possible in honour of survivors.
"It’s beautiful that they’re finally being heard and being validated like they deserve, because for such a long time, they’ve been told that they were lying," Powderhorn said.
"And not only that, it affected the way we were raised," said Tara Martinez, another of the organizers. "We’ve survived a genocide, our children are living through a genocide... this has not stopped, and we’re not done either."
Charlotte Nolin, who is also a survivor of the Sixties Scoop and Day School system in Manitoba, said being part of the event as a knowledge keeper was deeply meaningful.
"My heart’s full."
"The damage that they tried to inflict, that goes away," Nolin said, gesturing to the crowded park. "We replace that pain with love for our relatives."
Sunday’s event was briefly disrupted when a man had to be asked to leave because he was making a woman feel unsafe. A pop-up vaccine clinic also offered COVID-19 vaccines to anyone in the park.
Katie May is a general-assignment reporter for the Free Press.