OTTAWA — A Parliament Hill memorial for Indigenous children who never returned from residential schools has been dismantled.
The memorial — pairs of children's shoes, stuffed toys, messages and other items — sprang up spontaneously around the Centennial Flame last spring after the discovery of what are believed to be the remains of children in unmarked graves at several former residential school sites.
A spokesperson for Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada says removal of the items was done Friday after consulting with national Indigenous groups and the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and Cowessess First Nations, where ground-penetrating radar revealed hundreds of unmarked graves.
Megan MacLean says they advised that the removal of the memorial should be directed by the Algonquin Anishinabeg First Nation on whose traditional territory Parliament Hill sits.
Under guidance from that First Nation, MacLean says sacred items will be entrusted to Algonquin Anishinabeg elders.
Other items, depending on their state of degradation, will be donated, kept for educational purposes, recycled or disposed of in accordance with City of Ottawa guidelines.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 22, 2021.
The Canadian Press