The Town of Hay River has painted feathers on a crosswalk to recognize the impact of residential schools on its community ahead of National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.
The crosswalk, at the intersection of Woodland Drive and Courtoreille Street, bears two lines of feathers. Dayna King, a Hay River resident with graphic design experience who helped coordinate the project, said the act was important to stand in solidarity with Indigenous members of the community and show “others do care.”
“For me at least, the significance is about honouring the residential school survivors and the victims and their families, and the impact that has had throughout history. It is still affecting people today,” she said.
“It’s to show them we do care and we are honouring and remembering with them. It’s an important part of our history that we need to remember. We need to address it, and we need to do better in the future.”
King first saw a similar idea shared to a Facebook group. A local shop quickly provided a stencil.
“It’s just a small thing, painting a crosswalk," said King, "but hopefully it’ll help people think a little more – like a reminder for the future.”
Glenn Smith, Hay River’s senior administrative officer, said the project "came together really quickly.”
“We often do the painting later in the year for our crosswalks and various lines around the town, because we have to wait for our weather to get a bit more stable here," he said, "but our town’s public works department were able to support it.
“It’s obviously of interest in the community, we’re all feeling the same sort of effects.
“We have very strong Indigenous representation here and we recognize there’s an impact to many people, and continues to be an impact. We wanted to do what we can as a small symbol for support.”
Sarah Sibley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cabin Radio