Wood Buffalo RCMP are investigating a report of mischief downtown.
On August 28th, in front of the Jubilee Centre on Franklin Ave, the residential school memorial was unlawfully disassembled.
The hundreds of shoes were removed from their place on the stairs and placed in a pile with a sign stating, “garage sale, all items free”.
The memorial was to remain in place until September 30th, A National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
The Athabasca Tribal Council, McMurray Metis and the RMWB came out with a joint statement saying they strongly condemn these acts of vandalism and racism towards the residential school memorial.
“The recent vandalism of the memorial for residential school victims highlights the racism we fight every day. When ignorant acts are combined with dishonouring the memorials of the children that died in residential schools, the trauma to residential school survivors, their families and our communities continues. The memorial has been used to honour the memories of those who died in residential school,” said Chief Adam, President of the Athabasca Tribal Council.
“We hope that the individual or individuals of such a disgraceful act are brought to justice through the RCMP’s investigation. We continue to work with the RMWB on steps to reconciliation through the Orangepath.ca and the RMWB’s Reconciliation Challenge. We encourage all to visit Orangepath.ca and sign the petition for the proposed Athabasca Tribal Council Amendment to the Indian Act, and follow the next steps on their journey to reconciliation.”
McMurray Metis President, Peter Hansen, says he’s saddened that someone would vandalize the beautiful memorial in honour of residential school victims and all the Indigenous children’s lives that were lost.
“We hope that the following days leading up to Orange Shirt Day on September 30 will be filled with reflection on the true history of Canada and the tragedy that has occurred over the Summer with all the unmarked graves that were found and are still yet to be discovered. McMurray Métis continues to be an advocate for education and we encourage everyone in the RMWB to participate in the Reconciliation Challenge and learn more about Indigenous people and end racism towards them.”
Mayor Don Scott added that this type of vandalism and racism holds no place in our region.
“We can’t sit idly by when racism happens in our community. We must all speak out and condemn these acts in the strongest terms possible. An act like this is intolerable in our region – and it serves as a clear reminder that stronger action is needed to advance reconciliation. We must all continue to listen to the truth, educate ourselves and take daily steps that bring us closer to reconciliation, while continuing to support survivors and their families.”
Wood Buffalo RCMP are asking the public’s assistance for any information in relation to this incident (or identifying those responsible). Please contact Wood Buffalo RCMP at 780-788-4040. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), and online at www.P3Tips.com.