215 Children: A Community Art Action

On June 4th, Chokecherry youth invited the community of Saskatoon to gather at River Landing to contribute to the creation of an outdoor art installation in honour of Residential School Survivors and Missing Indigenous Children. 

215 - community action   215 - solidarity    

This art installation commemorates the 215 Indigenous children found in an unmarked mass grave at the former Kamloops Residential School site in British Columbia. Over 200 community members joined us in painting 215 stones along the bank of the kisiskāciwani-sīpiy, better known as the South Saskatchewan River. 

Two-Spirit Metis Elder and Chokecherry Board Member, Marjorie Beaucage shared that “stones are the ancestors of the earth. The oldest beings. They have been through it all and can hold our grief and help us heal. These children are now our ancestors too and with their lost lives they are giving us an opportunity to transform all that needs to change. To create a different world for future generations.” 

This installation was to show solidarity with the Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc community, to mourn all Stolen Children who never returned to their families and to offer our own community an opportunity to heal and support one another.

The discovery of these 215 children was announced only days before National Indigenous History Month. However, the repercussions of historical and ongoing colonial violence impact Indigenous lives each day. The youth of Saskatoon believe more must be done. 

The City of Saskatoon does not yet have a monument honouring Residential School Survivors and Missing Indigenous Children. We hope that this art installation will inspire municipalities across the country to collaborate with Indigenous artists, leaders and communities to erect monuments that honour the truth and dignify the pursuit of reconciliation.