A new expression of interest invites Indigenous artists to design a monument in memory of children who died at residential schools.

The creation of monuments by all provinces and territories was called upon in recommendation #82 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission to create memorials for the First Nations, Métis, and Inuit children who did not make their way home from federally-funded and church-run institutions.

"This healing and education memorial will be open to anyone visiting the Alberta legislature grounds,” says Alberta Indigenous Relations minister Rick Wilson.

Elder Bert Auger, of the Whitefish Lake Nation, was among those stressing the need for the memorial.

“The memorial matters because of where we have journeyed and who we are. This is to never forget the residential school experience,” says Auger.

Any Indigenous artist or artist-led teams, collectives, or partnerships of artists from or living in Alberta are welcome to submit an expression of interest. Recent familial connections to Alberta First Nations or with the Metis Settlements and Métis Nation Regions are required.

The application deadline is July 29, 2022, at 2 p.m. The chosen artist is expected to be announced this fall. Up to $1 million has been set aside for its completion.

The Alberta government has asked leaders of Indigenous organizations to be on a consultation panel, create an expression of interest, review submissions, and choose one or more artists to design the memorial. 

A total of 25 federally-funded, church-run residential schools operated in Alberta between 1862 and 1988, including one in the Stoney Nakoda Nation.

The announcement of the memorial follows Indigenous Elders and leaders joining Minister Wilson to plant a tree in what will become a reconciliation garden on the legislature grounds in September 2020.

The memorial will be placed near the garden for the public to visit and learn about residential schools.

Those interested in submitting a design can find more details here