The Legion Branch 183 in Bonnyville has unveiled a new monument dedicated to Residential Schools.
On October 2, the unveiling occurred at the Legion Cenotaph which is located on the corner of 51 Street and 49 Ave in Bonnyville, only two days after Orange Shirt Day.
Orange Shirt Day began in 2013 after Phyllis Webstad, a survivor of the St. Joseph’s Mission residential school in British Columbia, shared the story of her new orange shirt being taken away from her on her first day of residential school in 1973.
Jamie Beaupre is the President of the Legion in Bonnyville.
“We put our minds, our hearts, and our hands to work to raise funds to build a monument for future generations to never forget what happened,” Beaupre told Lakeland Connect.
Town of Bonnyville Councillor Chad Colbourne told Lakeland Connect, “It’s very important we recognize the atrocities our First Nation communities and neighbours have suffered.”
“The children lost during the Residential School’s era and 60s Scoop are a black mark on Canada’s history. By commemorating these lives we are saying – You Matter and Your Life Matters,” Councillor Colbourne said.
Mayor of Bonnyville, Gene Sobolewski says, “The monument shows that there are more and more people that are recognizing the importance of the Residential Schools and the impacts on the sense of the past.”
An important step the Mayor says.
“It is very important that all segments of the population, recognize the injustices in the past so that we can have a clear path moving forward in reconciliation,” Mayor Sobolewski said.