Indian Residential School (IRS) Memorial Project Update

The City of Calgary takes another step towards co-creation of permanent memorial

The City of Calgary’s Indigenous Relations Office, in partnership with the IRS Elders Advisory Group, IRS working group, and local Indigenous community, is co-creating a memorial, guided by the seven sacred teachings and by community discussions. This permanent memorial is to honour all the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRS) and the thousands of children who never returned home.

“This monument will provide a place for people to gather, pay respects, and ensure that the history and legacy of the schools are never forgotten,” says Sherri Kellock, Indigenous Consultant and co-lead of the IRS Memorial project.

Last fall The City opened phase one of engagement from September 8 to December 31, 2022 and focused on gathering input from Indigenous community members and Indigenous-serving community agencies and organization. The online portal received 9,512 unique visitors and 732 contributions. The Indigenous Relations Office also hosted in-person engagement sessions attended by 185 members of Indigenous communities in and around Calgary.

Phase one engagement focused on two main topics – location and design themes. The central themes that emerged through the engagement period were healing, ceremony, truth and acknowledgement. 

Design elements favoured:

  • Traditional Indigenous design
  • Incorporating the spirit of the temporary memorial currently in front of the Municipal Building (bronzing of shoes from the temporary memorial is the most preferred method)
  • The inclusion of nature and meaningful symbolism
  • The value of both accessibility and seating availability

Locations favoured:

  • Fort Calgary
  • Olympic Plaza
  • Municipal building

Phase Two of the project, slated to start later this year, will involve completing the site feasibility studies, procurement, design, construction, and blessing of the ground and construction itself.

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