Additional tipi erected at Vancouver Art Gallery amid calls for residential school memorial's removal
An additional tipi has been erected at the residential school memorial outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, after the city and three local First Nations requested that the tribute be taken down.
A mother told CTV News that she and her two daughters plan to live inside of it.
The residential school memorial site was originally created in May 2021, following Tk'emlúps te Secwepemc’s announcement of the discovery of of 215 potential unmarked graves at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. It’s since been fenced off and blocked from the general public.
Tamara Bell, a Haida artist, originally placed 215 pairs of children’s shoes on the south steps of the art gallery and lit candles to honour children who did not survive in residential schools.
Her tribute became a gathering place for people to mourn, learn and pay respects to the children who died at residential schools across Canada.
The city’s request for the memorial to be removed was originally made on Nov. 30. The city acknowledges it could have handled the situation differently and says it did not act sooner because of the sensitive nature of the memorial.
The city says it understands there is a need for public, culturally appropriate spaces for mourning and healing from residential schools, and that those conversations have started and will continue with First Nations.
Last week, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow was asked if he was aware of the memorial expanding, and he expressed disbelief.
"Very disappointing that they're not recognizing Musqueam and Squamish and Tseil-Waututh, and saying those kind of comments is very upsetting to me,” he said.
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