On Sunday, September 30, 2018 the new mural at Trinity Anglican Church was officially launched. Creative designer and artist Mique Michel and one of the many young artists who helped paint “Telling the Truth”, Marcus Kisa were on hand to celebrate and to describe a little of “what it takes” to pull together an art project of this size.
From its very inception this mural has been a work in progress for close to a year. Rev. Arran Thorpe, Pastor of Trinity Church who was present at Sunday’s ceremony successfully applied for funding from the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa to kick-start the creation of the mural. Justin Holness, artist and creative founder of Tr1be Academy also at the launch helped rally indigenous poets and artists to envision and realize this project from beginning to end.
Melissa Hammel, who is of Anishinaabe and European mixed heritage, welcomed celebrants with song and drumming. Elder Rachèle Prud’homme, a Woman Traditional Dancer, offered a prayer of gratitude reminding celebrants of the natural world around us, beyond the Sunday traffic and the surrounding buildings, and asked us in particular to be aware of our presence at this day of remembrance and hope.
The mural’s title “Telling the Truth” reflects on the unique and invaluable contribution made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which published its findings in 2015, together with 94 calls to action or recommendations. If you look closely at the mural you will find the number 94 on the wrist of the indigenous woman who dominates the right side of the mural and whose hair flows like feathers around the side of the building. To the left of the mural is a rather large raven, a symbol of transformation and change.
Ultimately, the focus by the Commission on determining the truth of residential schooling and its impact on indigenous peoples was an important foundation for future reconciliation. Now that we know about residential schools and their legacy, what do we do about it?
As described in the Commission’s findings, “Getting to the truth was hard, but getting to reconciliation will be harder.”
“ Reconciliation requires that a new vision, based on a commitment to mutual respect, be developed. It also requires an understanding that the most harmful impacts of residential schools have been the loss of pride and self-respect of Aboriginal people, and the lack of respect that non-Aboriginal people have been raised to have for their Aboriginal neighbours.
“Reconciliation is not an Aboriginal problem; it is a Canadian one.”
And so with the launch of this mural we are being formally invited as a community to engage and to participate in the discussion of truth & reconciliation. Visit trc.ca for more information on the Commission and its importance to Canadians.
According to Rev. Arran Thorpe of Trinity Anglican Church more events are planned for 2018-19. So, stay tuned to OSCAR and www.oldottawasouth.ca for more news in the months to come.