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UNB plants orange flowers to honour residential school survivors

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jul 14, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton , UNB Saint John

The University of New Brunswick has planted orange flowers to honour survivors of residential schools and the many children who did not make it home.

On July 11, a ceremony was held outside Marshall d’Avray Hall on the Fredericton campus to recognize the history and legacy of the residential school system and highlight the need for action in support of truth and reconciliation.

Elder Jeannie Bartibogue, UNB’s Kcicihtuwinut (Knowledge Carrier-in-Residence), prayed and blessed the flowers in front of approximately 40 students, faculty and staff.

“The flowers mean so much because of creation and the ground that these children are buried in. We want to acknowledge that they be found, and that their spirits continue to sing for us so that we can find them and bring them back home to their loved ones. They are part of us and who we are,” said Elder Bartibogue.

“It’s really in that spirit that we send blessings and prayers that they be found.”

In Fredericton, the flowers can be found in front of Marshall d’Avray Hall, at the Kings College Road campus gates and near the campus gates on Beaverbrook Street. Orange flowers have also been planted in several locations on the Saint John campus. Details regarding a similar ceremony in Saint John will be announced in the coming weeks.

“As educators, we are responsible for ensuring that we never forget what happened to all those children and for keeping their legacy alive, and as administrators, we are responsible for ensuring that we work together towards understanding the why. Both will lead to good action,” said Dr. David MaGee, UNB’s vice-president (research).

UNB’s strategic vision, UNB Toward 2030, outlines the university’s commitment to Piluwitahasuwawsuwakon, a Wolastoqey word meaning “allowing your thinking to change so that action will follow in a good way toward truth.”

Media contact: Kelsey Pye
Photo: Elder Jeannie Bartibogue, UNB's Kcicihtuwinut, blesses orange flowers planted on the Fredericton campus. Credit: Jeff Crawford/UNB