On October 14th The Healing Place Working Group Partners and Community Members gathered together at The Healing Place, Tsi Tehshakotitsénhtha - Endaji mino-pimaadizi, in Shanly, Ontario to create a children’s garden, and share stories to celebrate First Nations cultures.
The Healing Place is a gathering space created with Indigenous intention at the intersection of connections to land, ecological restoration, as well as truth and reconciliation. In light of the discoveries of unmarked graves on residential school properties across Canada, the working group decided to dedicate a day and a space to remembering the children by planting a memorial and healing garden. The garden was designed in the shape of a butterfly and planted with pollinator species to attract butterflies and fireflies which are associated with childhood and transformation. The idea was to create a space to help transform grief into healing by both honouring our children who were taken and celebrating our children now.
The plants chosen for the garden are versatile species that are not only pollinator species but also traditional foods, medicines, and culturally significant plants. For example, wild strawberries, which are considered a health and heart medicine, were planted along the garden paths where their sweet summer berries are easily accessible by little hands. Sun chokes that grow up to eight feet tall provide beautiful yellow flowers and edible nutritious tubers. Sweet grass, one of the four sacred medicines used by Indigenous peoples, is planted throughout the garden so it can easily be harvested and dried. The plants also provide a wide variety of textures and smells in addition to their colours, making the space more engaging for young children and more enjoyable for those with different abilities.
The Healing Place and the children’s garden are open to the public and are located at 8040 Shanly Road (County Road 22), in Shanly, Ontario. For more information about The Healing Place please visit https://www.plentycanada.com/healing-place.html.
— Sarah Craig