Quesnel City Council has unanimously dedicated the amphitheater park on St. Laurent Avenue adjacent to City Hall as a healing and gathering place and permanent commemoration for the victims of residential schools. The park will be redesigned in collaboration with the leadership, elders, and community members of the Lhtako Dene, Nazko, ?Esdilagh, and Lhoosk'uz Dene First Nations.
It is hoped that design will be completed early in 2022 and funding can be obtained to convert the park to a commemorative place by the 2022 National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.
Mayor Simpson quote: "Quesnel City Council is committed to undertaking reconciliation initiatives with all of the First Nations that have traditional territory and historical ties to Quesnel, this particular project has very special meaning to Council as we try to do our part to educate the public about the negative impacts of residential schools and create a permanent learning, healing and gathering space for all our community members."
Chief Troy Baptiste quote: “?Esdilagh First Nation is in support of more indigenous architectural symbolism being brought to the city of Quesnel. A gathering and healing spot is a good start however, more needs to be done to represent the bands whose traditional territory encompasses Quesnel. ?Esdilagh looks forward to the future projects that will be established, not only in the name of reconciliation but also to bring awareness to the public about the culture and traditions of the carrier and Tsilhqot’in people who call Quesnel their home.”
Chief Liliane Squinas, BMgt quote: “Some of our Lhoosk’uz Dene Nation members were the last students that attended the residential school prior to its closing (St Joseph’s Mission). These students had complained about the trauma experienced, yet nobody believed their story.
With this commemoration project, it’s a step towards acknowledgment that colonialism & forced removal of children done its damage. We should continue to work together on our path to healing.”
Chief Leah Stump quote: “Dahooja. I am beyond excited for the new memorial, we need to honour and uphold our survivors of the residential schools and those who didn’t make it home. We need to educate and have this information available so that everyone has a better understanding of what really happened. I am pleased to be moving towards reconciliation with the city of Quesnel but most of all I am grateful to see a better path being paved for our future generations to come because that is who we are building and battling for.”
Chief and Council of Lhtako Dene Nation quote: “The Lhtako Dene Nation is very pleased to see the dedication of the Amphitheater Park on St Laurent as a healing and gathering place and permanent commemoration for the victims of residential schools. This is an outstanding way to recognize the hurts that were realized by our people and to help in the achievement of the truth and reconciliation that is so needed by Indigenous peoples.”
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