RIGHT GLASS PANEL
TOP – As in the left panel, circles emerge and transform into a fully visible sun. The sun rises and represents not only transformation, but more importantly, as Mary Simon, then President of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK); said in her official reaction on the floor of the House of Commons, “I am filled with optimism… a new day has dawned, a new day heralded by a commitment to reconciliation and building a new relationship with Inuit, Métis and First Nations.”
The lines flowing from the sun are meant to convey the concept of moving from the present into the future. The colours embody the colours used within different medicine wheels, sundance and Midewin lodges and the Métis sash (yellow, black, red, white, green, and blue). Together with the left panel, sun and moon represent the cycle of life, seasons, and change.
The jingle dress is a sacred healing dress that is now common throughout North America. In this panel, the jingle dress dancer is an Elder who is a survivor of the residential school. She is dancing for the healing of all the people and for future generations.
MIDDLE – In this section, the colours and lines move us soundly into the present day and thinking about the future. The young mother embraces her baby in a traditional moss bag. The child is back with her mother, as she should be, representing children being raised by their parents and the breaking of the cycle of abuse. Her grandfather sings a traditional song signifying the restoration of songs, dance, ceremonies, and languages.
Within this panel are the following words: Kisakihitin (“I love you” in Cree), Gizhawenamin Niichaanis (“I love you my child” in Anishnaabemowin), Nagligiivagit (“I love you” in Inuktitut), Kesalul (“I love you” in Mi’kmaq). Many victims of residential schools were unable to tell their own children they loved them, and many children never heard those words from their parents. Embedding these words within the glass solidifies the existence and use of Aboriginal languages.
BOTTOM – The circle is complete. Presently, traditional ceremonies take place throughout the year. The grandmother sits in the lodge smoking her pipe for her grandchildren. Potlach ceremonies take place and Salmon and Sturgeon ceremonies are on-going. The sundance lodges are erected and the Midewin lodges are no longer whispered about but are now out in the open. Puberty ceremonies are being practiced. Traditional knowledge about medicines is being taught. From east to west, the foundations of our cultures are being brought back and made whole. There is hope; there is a new respect for Aboriginal cultures within the rest of Canada as we are witness to our own strength and resilience.