The consequences of the residential schools continue to this day. Across the country, hundreds of unmarked graves have been discovered and are still being investigated. The last residential school in Canada closed in 1996.
We visited Woodland Cultural Centre, a museum and cultural preservation centre managed by First Nations, operating in place of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School. Rather than tearing down the building, the centre has decided to keep it standing—to save the evidence of these dark chapters of Canada’s history.
In 2019, Suana came to Canada for the first time and witnessed the practice of the land acknowledgements. The willingness to acknowledge the unceded and ancestral lands of the Indigenous Peoples hugely impacted Suana. If Canada can take this first step to face truth and reconciliation without flinching, can the rest of the world do it, too?
In front of the former Mohawk Institute Residential School that held so many unforgotten horrors, Kanatal sang a Requiem from the Bunun tribe. Using their voices, they offer comfort to the lost children.
Woodland Cultural Centre’s logo comes from a brooch during the busy trades of the 18th century. Two eagles—the Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee—encompass a pair of hands, reaching towards the light, carefully cradling their culture to pass it onto the next generation.
Kanatal, with their bright song and open hearts, brings the light as they listen earnestly to the elders’ stories, steadily moving forwards on this road to rediscover who they were. This truth and resilience that was so preciously preserved by those that came before us gives Kanatal the courage and hope to continue raising their voices.