Grande Prairie Gathers for 2nd Annual Indigenous Crosswalk Painting

People gathered in Grande Prairie for the 2nd Annual 97th Avenue and 101st Street Crosswalk Painting in Support of Indigenous Peoples, Residential School Victims and Survivors.

Organizer Meghan Zatko believes it’s still an important event on the calendar.

“It’s really rewarding, surreal, and it’s exciting to see more support this year. Hopefully next year more members of the community will come out and continue to grow. It’s also great to know that there is now more awareness for the Aboriginal community,” she says.

Zatko says for the most part she’s seen a very positive response from the community.

“Some people ask why we can’t have statues. What I tell them is that this is a way of immediately showing our support for the Aboriginal community.

When people come to see the crosswalk, Zatko wants people to keep in mind the murdered and missing Indigenous women, the unmarked graves for residential school children, and sympathy and empathy for residential school survivors.

“I think sometimes we forget the survivors and only think of the victims. They suffer as much as the victims. They still have to experience the generational trauma and the lack of empathy some people have for them,” she says.

Zatko believes that as a country we need to acknowledge our past mistakes and show Indigenous peoples that we want to bring about change.

“It is important to not only stand with them, but alongside them. Forcing them to give up their beliefs for any reason is not acceptable. I think it’s important to admit what happened and start making the change saying it won’t happen again,” she says.

Zatko adds that she would like to see more continued support for Indigenous peoples and the Indigenous community, citing days such as National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 and Orange T-Shirt Day on September 30.

About Catharine C. Bean

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