Council supports orange crosswalk

One of the many images shared on social media after the bodies of 215 children were found at a former residential school site in B.C.

Developing an orange crosswalk to honour Indigenous children lost to residential schools has received unanimous support from Sarnia council.

Councillor Bill Dennis proposed the idea to council Monday and hopes it’s seen as a step toward reconciliation in the community.

“This may be similar to the one very recently installed in Orangeville, and would require Indigenous community approval,” said Dennis. “This permanent symbol would acknowledge, albeit in a small way, the tragedy of the residential schools which is the greatest scar on Canadian history.”

Councillor Brian White thinks the crosswalk is a “great idea.”

“This summer, I had the opportunity to stand at the foot of the residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia, which first uncovered, for many people for the first time, this horrific reality,” said White.

Ground penetrating radar located the remains of 215 First Nations children in a mass unmarked grave at Kamloops Residential School at the end of May.

“I don’t blame people for not understanding our history, but hopefully from this point forward people have an opportunity to reflect and understand the truth and the reality that’s faced our Indigenous communities for generations and will affect them for generations to come,” White added.

Staff have been directed to discuss the design of the crosswalk with the local Indigenous community and the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP] committee.

Sarnia council also supported a request from the Sarnia-Lambton Native Friendship Centre to borrow the city’s sound system September 30.

A rally is being planned to mark National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

Council also directed staff to fly the “Every Child Matters” flag at the community flag pole along the waterfront that day.

All other non-Indigenous flags will be flown at half mast.