South Peace News
High Prairie town council has agreed on the location of special crosswalks to acknowledge both missing and murdered Indigenous women and residential school children.
The crosswalks will be placed at the southwest corner of MacIntyre Park. One will lead west to the old NAPA building, most recently the Northern Lakes College building, the other south.
Jennifer Zatko, branch manager of TD Canada Trust in High Prairie, proposed the crosswalks at council’s Sept. 28, 2021 meeting. Council was quick to endorse the project. Zatko appeared again at the April 12 meeting with a proposed drawing, which council also endorsed.
“There is no cost to town or council,” Zatko said, adding the bank will pay all costs.
Several sites were considered until the park location was chosen, based on the current state of the site [not expected to be torn up and/or repaired for a number of
of years] and its designation as a high vehicle and walking traffic location.
“There is a place to sit and reflect on what happened,” said Zatko.
The proposed drawings were done by local artist Younger Caudron, who also drew the murals at the Days Inn. They include a Metis sash to represent Metis peoples and eight feathers to represent Treaty 8 First Nations. Each will be invited to send a representative to place a hand at the site during installation. The only concern cited was possible fading over the years and scraping due to snow removal. Councillor Judy Stenhouse asked Zatko if a maintenance plan was in place.
Zatko replied the bank will do “touch-ups” and pay for extra paint for future needs.
“My hope is when I move on somebody else will pick it up,” said Zatko.
It is hoped the crosswalk will be painted before summer begins.
Zatko is also planning an unveiling ceremony.
The project is near and dear to Zatko’s heart.
“My family has been in residential schools,” she said, adding she grew up listening to stories.
Three residential schools were formerly located near High Prairie.
“As a community, we need to recognize Canada’s history and work through Truth and Reconciliation to overcome our personal biases. I believe that this project would help us recognize the history of the Indigenous peoples,” said Zatko at the Sept. 28 meeting.
“I believe there should be some type of acknowledgement.”