Nathan Phillips Square becoming Indigenous cultural space July 29 and 30

Jul 25 2019, 5:54 pm

On Monday and Tuesday, the Indian Residential School Survivors (IRSS) Legacy Celebration will offer a vibrant cultural space at Nathan Phillips Square to honour residential school survivors and their families.

On July 29 and 30, the Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre, in collaboration with the City of Toronto, will present this free gathering.

The event will feature Indigenous songs, stories, language, food, performances, installations, and demonstrations for all ages.

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Highlights of the IRSS Legacy Celebration program include traditional performances and cultural teachings including hoop dancing, Metis fiddlers and jiggers, drumming, and throat singing.

Additionally, visitors can anticipate more than 20 large painted teepees hosting drop-in workshops, information sharing, interactive experiences (such as Wampum belt teachings), and counselling supports.

Further, there will be a tent dedicated for residential school survivors to use as a meeting space, as well as Indigenous food, arts, and crafts for sale in the Indigenous Marketplace.

Visitors will have the opportunity to explore, learn about and participate in Indigenous activities.

Everyone is welcome. More information is available here.

“This celebration of the resilience and vitality of residential school survivors and their families is an opportunity to move reconciliation from discussion to action. We are proud to collaborate with Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre again this year to produce this important event at Nathan Phillips Square,” said Mayor John Tory, in a release.

This celebration aims to create awareness of the IRSS Legacy Project, led by Toronto Council Fire Native Cultural Centre in collaboration with the city.

The legacy project will be permanently featured on Nathan Phillips Square.

It will consist of a turtle sculpture called the Restoration of Identity and a teaching, learning, sharing, and healing space, both to be completed in 2022.

The six-foot-tall turtle sculpture represents many First Nation creation stories as it embodies Turtle Island, also referred to as Mother Earth. The turtle stands on a three-foot-tall boulder, which will list the 17 residential schools that once operated in Ontario.

Further project plans and a turtle sculpture replica will be unveiled on Monday, July 29, during the IRSS Legacy Celebration.

The IRSS Legacy sculpture was developed in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, specifically, Call to Action 82.

It calls upon provincial and territorial governments, in collaboration with survivors and their organizations, and other parties to the settlement agreement, to commission and install a publicly accessible, highly visible, residential schools monument in each capital city to honour survivors and all the children who were lost to their families and communities.