Glenna Lundberg explains an art piece she created while exploring the issue of residential schools in Canada, at an event she planned in the civic square in Abbotsford on Sept. 30. She planned the event to give a place for people to go in Abbotsford, finding no such events last year. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

Glenna Lundberg explains an art piece she created while exploring the issue of residential schools in Canada, at an event she planned in the civic square in Abbotsford on Sept. 30. She planned the event to give a place for people to go in Abbotsford, finding no such events last year. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

Abbotsford woman provides quiet opportunity for reflection on residential schools

Armed with artwork, flowers and cards, Glenna Lundberg creates space for Truth and Reconciliation

A small and quiet remembrance of residential schools, their victims, and their survivors took place in Abbotsford’s civic plaza on Friday.

The event was planned by Glenna Lundberg, who along with a friend was unable to find a place in this city to pay respects last year for the new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

This year, there was once again nothing official happening through the city. So, Lundberg and friends and family set up an orange tent, a vase of beautiful orange gerbera daisies, and some opportunities for reflection for anyone who cared to join.

She also brought along a piece of artwork she created while contemplating Canada’s past and the residential school system. While the final image is cheery and bright blue with a message of hope inscribed, underneath that are hidden complex layers of the past. She brought along photos of work as it progressed, beginning with copies of handwritten notes about residential schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s findings, and images of news stories, and a photograph of a school.

They are all layers beneath the surface, she explains, a literal metaphor of the issues the day has been set aside for.

She also brought along cards that people could fill out for loved ones, to share their feelings. And for those who wanted something to reflect on, she brought a phrase: “Today I bear witness to the pain experienced by the Indigenous people of Canada and extend my sorry for their suffering.”

While neighbouring communities are engaged in walks, talks, pow wows, and other gatherings, there was nothing advertised in Abbotsford again. However, just adjacent to Lundberg’s set up, there is a story walk placed through the gardens in front of Clearbrook Library.

People can start at the beginning of the book at the side of the library and walk the pathways while reading one page at a time, out loud or to themselves. The book on display is Sema:th Xo:tsa: Great Gramma’s Lake. The story reminds the reader of the significance of Sumas Lake and the ripple effect its drainage by early settlers has had on Indigenous people even today.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is now a federal statutory holiday, but not a provincial holiday. Schools and other institutions are closed for the holiday, but most private businesses remain open as usual.

READ MORE: Truth and Reconciliation Day includes lessons for Abbotsford teachers, story walk


@CHWKcommunity
jessica.peters@abbynews.com

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A man looks at a painting by Glenna Lundberg at an event in Abbotsford’s civic square on Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

A man looks at a painting by Glenna Lundberg at an event in Abbotsford’s civic square on Sept. 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

People took the time to do a Story Walk in front of Clearbrook Library on Friday, Sept. 30, as they honoured the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The story is called Sema:th Xo:tsa: Great Gramma’s Lake, and tells the story of how Abbotsford’s Sumas Lake being drained affected Indigenous people then and now. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

People took the time to do a Story Walk in front of Clearbrook Library on Friday, Sept. 30, as they honoured the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The story is called Sema:th Xo:tsa: Great Gramma’s Lake, and tells the story of how Abbotsford’s Sumas Lake being drained affected Indigenous people then and now. (Jessica Peters/Abbotsford News)

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