Text from Inuvik's truth and reconciliation plaque is seen in an image distributed by the town.
The Town of Inuvik has formally unveiled a plaque in Chief Jim Koe Park that marks the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The plaque, a permanent installation next to the park’s fire ring, features wording devised in collaboration with Indigenous partners, the town said in an email announcing its unveiling on Friday last week – the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“Let us never forget the long-term and intergenerational effects of the Canadian residential school system, and let us always remember our role and responsibility in moving towards reconciliation and creating a community and a world where every child matters,” wrote Jackie Challis, Inuvik’s director of economic development and tourism.
The plaque lies adjacent to the site of Sir Alexander Mackenzie School, a federal day school built in 1959 that later became a GNWT-run elementary school before its demolition in 2014.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission held an event in Inuvik from June 28 to July 1, 2011 before releasing its final report in 2015, and the plaque notes that the Chief Jim Koe Park fire ring was built “for ceremonial protocol to assist with the healing required for participants” at that event.
“Standing now as a legacy reminder here in Chief Jim Koe Park, this fire ring will help us forever remember the courageous and heartbreaking stories shared by those who were and continue to be affected by the residential school system in Canada,” the plaque states.
The plaque lastly enshrines the Town of Inuvik’s 2021 “promise to never forget the lasting inter-generational effects of the residential schools” and its commitment to “establish unity, understanding and reconciliation between all residents of the area.”