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Turtleford unveils art project and memorial

June 18, 2021

Residents in Turtleford will get to enjoy the work of the grade five classes of Turtleford School and Thunderchild School, the Turtleford Transition School and artist Bonnie Macnab for years to come.

This year students from the Turtleford and Thunderchild grade five classes collaborated on an art project, with grant funding from the Saskatchewan Arts Council, for a mural and complementary art that is displayed outside the Turtleford Library in the heart of the community.

Bonnie Macnab was the artist behind the mural, and she worked with other community members to pull together a concept to celebrate the community and the relationship between Turtleford and Thunderchild First Nation. Though COVID made things more challenging, Bonnie was able to work with the students and provide creative direction for their class projects in a virtual environment.

Mr. Keen, the grade 5 teacher at Turtleford School, and Mr. Graham, his counterpart at Thunderchild, were eager for their two classes to work together. They had forged a relationship over the years, as Graham is a former student who also completed his teaching internship at Turtleford School.

A public presentation of the finished project was held Thursday, June 17 on Main Street in Turtleford outside the library, and nearly 100 residents from Turtleford and Thunderchild came together to celebrate the finished project.

Remembering the Children of Residential Schools

A second project was also unveiled on Thursday, a commemorative garden planter to honour and represent the children of the residential school system who were recently discovered in Kamloops, BC.

Students at Turtleford Transition School built a large planter, with supplies donated by the Turtleford Coop, and Bonnie Macnab donated 215 marigolds, to represent the 215 children whose lives were lost.

The students from all three schools, along with community members, took turns planting the flowers. The planter will be cared for, watered and weeded by community members from Turtleford and Thunderchild, working together on a journey of reconciliation.

Congratulations to all the students and staff members involved in this incredible project.

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Turtleford grade five students introduce the gathered dignataries and welcome guests to the mural unveiling.

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Mr. Graham, elder Gladys Wapass-Greyeyes and Mr. Keen

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Students and community members planting the 215 marigolds.

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Artist Bonnie Macnab presenting the mural and speaking about the students' collaboration.

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Thunderchild grade five students (front row) and Turtleford grade five students (back row)

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Mr. Keen and Turtleford grade five students planing marigolds.

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Mrs. Nelson, Turtleford Principal, helping a student plant marigolds.

PrimeTime Local News Spot about the project and event