Remembering the Past: Window to the Future
Stained Glass Windows designed by Métis Artist Unveiled on Parliament Hill
On the morning of November 26, a ceremony was held in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa to formally dedicate and unveil stained glass windows commemorating residential school survivors. The installation of the windows on Parliament Hill is part of the Government of Canada’s 2008 apology to former students of Indian Residential Schools. In 2011, the Canadian government announced as a gesture of reconciliation that the legacy of Indian Residential Schools would be commemorated through a permanent installation of stained glass artwork in the Centre Block of Parliament Hill. Following the announcement, a five member selection committee of Aboriginal art experts was established to oversee the artist selection process. This group invited a number of Canadian Aboriginal artists to submit designs and ultimately selected the design submitted by Métis artist Christi Belcourt, the daughter of MNO founding President Tony Belcourt.
Entitled "Giniigaaniimenaaning", which means 'Looking Ahead', the window tells a story of Aboriginal peoples, cultures and languages through dark times and reflects the healing and resiliency of Aboriginal traditions and languages.
During the ceremony, Christi said the windows are dedicated to all residential school survivors. Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Executive Senator Reta Gordon also spoke at the ceremony and provided a dedication prayer as the representative of the Métis people.
Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) President Gary Lipinski stated: “This window is an important part of the reconciliation process. It is fitting that a Métis artist designed this window as many of our people suffered in residential schools, a fact that is not as widely known and recognized as it should be. Christi is a wonderful role model for Métis youth. She shows us all what Métis people can accomplish.”
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