Healing Steps Forward
After months of preparation and years of planning, The St. Albert Healing Garden officially opened to the public on Friday, September 15 with a spiritual pipe ceremony and celebration. With school children and the public looking on, Elders, Indian Residential School survivors, RCMP, the Mayor, and cultural dancers joined in The Grand Entry to the epicenter of the garden to start the celebrations.
The morning started out cold and foggy. As Elders and invited guests emerged from the tipi after the pipe ceremony, the fog lifted, and the warm sun came out. Some might say Mother Nature gave her blessing on our community coming together in true healing and reconciliation.
St. Albert was home to two residential schools: St. Albert Indian Residential School (Youville, located on Mission Hill) and Edmonton Indian Residential School (Poundmaker, located about six km east of downtown St. Albert). Located in the heart of the community on the north side of the Sturgeon River, The Healing Garden is one of the first of its kind in Canada.
The Healing Garden is a visual reminder of our community’s history and journey to arrive at this place of healing. The garden is a place for us to recognize our survivors of Indian Residential Schools and to enjoy nature’s peaceful tranquility.
As the garden grows, it will become a place for future generations to come together with family and children, a place for storytelling, ceremonies and prayers, and a place for peaceful contemplation and cleansing of the spirit.
Remember the past and welcome the present as we resolve to walk in right relations together.
Photo credit: Marc J Chalifoux Photography
Last edited: September 22, 2017