Honouring our History, Shaping our Future
Please help Heritage Park share more historically accurate Indigenous stories with the more than 500,000 children and adults who visit every year. We need your help today.
Indigenous stories are shared with everyone who visits Heritage Park each year – and has been for over 20 years. As our understanding and interpretation of our history changes, Heritage Park strives to listen to indigenous and community voices and reflect new knowledge and interpretations. We recognize our signage needs to be updated to be more inclusive to reflect the stories of Metis and First Nations people. Currently, some of our signage conveys outdated language and does not reflect the whole story of what happened during Canada’s Residential School systems. We plan to provide visitors a clearer history of our First Nations and with the help of our community elders we want to create new interpretation signage at Heritage Park. As a non-profit, we need your help to update these important and impactful changes.
Heritage Park is a living history museum that offers hands-on learning opportunities to more than 64,000 students each year, as well as the 500,000 people from across our province and around the world. At a time when sharing indigenous history is even more important, Heritage Park must offer updated and accurate information and stories.
Heritage Park creates immersive educational environments where children and adults can explore Canadian indigenous history and encourages conversations about the impact history has on how we live today. Together with our indigenous staff and partners, we want to strengthen and deepen our understanding of indigenous history. It is critical we update the indigenous stories we share on our signage to evolve our understanding of indigenous history. We will hire an indigenous author(s) to write the stories for these interpretive signs, and bring in indigenous teachers to help train our staff about how to tell the stories and answer questions after installation.
Confronting the truth is not always easy. It can be very emotional, thought-provoking, and affect people’s minds and spirits. At Heritage Park we tell the stories of our past to help people make informed decisions that will shape our future. Changing the language used in our Park is an important step in challenging colonial “norms” that is filled with the love and pain of the past and hope for the future.
Who Will it Benefit?
There are two primary groups that will benefit from this change:
* Guests to the park. Every year more than 500,000 guests come to visit Heritage Park. We also welcome special events such as dinners and receptions and ceremonial events such as weddings. Everyone who walks through the gates of Heritage Park would benefit from the indigenization of our interpretive signage as everyone who walks through our gates experiences and learns a little more about our shared history. Our school programming brings more than 64,000 students through our gates each year. Teaching our youth about Canada’s whole history will benefit them as they develop their own opinions about current issues, and help them understand things like intergenerational trauma so they can approach indigenous relationships with understanding and compassion.
* Indigenous peoples: Telling the indigenous stories by indigenous peoples is beneficial to for us all, including our indigenous communities as their traditions, knowledge and culture are given a voice where they have been held silent for generations. It is critical we all acknowledge the reality of the Indian Residential School System. Our history is not static. Heritage Park cannot be static either. Changing our interpretive signage is a part of that acknowledgement and with the help of Indigenous representatives we can ensure our signage reflects the realities of today’s Canada and the spirit of Truth & Reconciliation.