Garden of hearts left on Sussex Drive following discovery of unmarked graves in Saskatchewan

OTTAWA —  

Hundreds of hearts were placed on the front grounds of 50 Sussex Drive following the discovery of 2015 indigenous children’s remains at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.

“Each one is to honour the life of a child that died. It’s not just in the past, they’re getting the evidence now for the impact of colonialism,” said Sylvia Jones, part of the team compelled to act and create the memorial.

Friday, the memorial started growing following the latest discovery of unmarked graves in Saskatchewan.

“Good feelings and being sorry, and heart felt gestures of reconciliation like this are wonderful but they’re not enough, this will not change the situation, until every single Canadian understands what they’re responsibilities are,” said Jones.

Anybody looking to take part in the memorial can drop off a heart at 50 Sussex, or can share a virtual heart by visiting www.projectofheart.ca.

The tragic findings impacting the indigenous community in Ottawa and across the country.

“We, I think, are hoping that this is a watershed moment as it pertains to indigenous communities, our history and acknowledging those who never made it home,” said Ron McLester, Vice-President of Truth, Reconciliation, and Indigenization at Algonquin College. 

“You don’t have to wait for somebody else to do something, take it upon yourself to become self-educated do some reading, have some dinner table conversations, this isn’t a time to turn away, this isn’t a time to put a tarp over things, this is a time to shed some light on these issues, bring them into the daylight, and talk about how we move forward together,” said McLester.

On Monday, a sacred fire will be hosted at Marion Dewer Plaza at Ottawa City Hall, in partnership with the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition, to honour Indigenous children.

Anyone planning to attend is asked to follow public health measures by maintaining physical distance and wearing a mask.

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