Published online at CTVEdmonton.ca on May 19, 2012.
Linda Hoang, CTV Edmonton: Saturday, May 19, 2012
Edmonton’s aboriginal community honours children in care
Hundreds from Edmonton’s aboriginal community are honouring children in care at Churchill Square this weekend.
It’s all a part of the 5th annual “Blanket of Remembrance” event organized by the Creating Hope Society.
“It’s to bring awareness about what happens sometimes when children are taken away from their families,” said Bernadette Iahtail, executive director of the Creating Hope Society.
The Creating Hope Society brings light to an issue they say few people are aware of – that many aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families and communities and that such an act has devastating impacts on children and families.
The “Blanket of Remembrance” event helps the aboriginal community remember children who have died or gone missing while in the care of the child welfare system – as well as honouring those currently in care.
“It’s based on the sixties and seventies child welfare scoop,” Iahtail said.
“There were thousands of aboriginal children who were part of child welfare and we noticed the children who grew up in child welfare, there were a lot of them who had passed away, some of them never returned, some of them we don’t know what happened to them.”
The organization says about 76 per cent of children being cared for by the province are aboriginal.
“It’s about how do we work differently with families, what do we have to do in order to reduce children coming into care and how can the federal and provincial government work with our children that are entering the system.”
Iahtail says each year more and more people come out to Churchill Square to participate in various activities and hear stories from those who have experienced child welfare.
Between 800 and 1,000 people are expected to attend this weekend’s events.
The 5th annual Blanket of Remembrance” continues through the weekend in Churchill Square.
Those who grew up in child welfare are expected to share their experiences.
There is also a pipe ceremony and a traditional round dance scheduled for Sunday.