Fire lights the way forward for Truth and Reconciliation event
As the sun rose over Saskatoon this morning, about 200 people gathered in Exhibition Park to watch as the sacred fire of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was lit.
The fire will continuously burn for four days and four nights in honour of residential school survivors and children who died in the schools.
As a child, Eugene Arcand spent 11 years in residential schools in Saskatchewan. In tears, he says this ceremony brought back many memories.
"So much, you think of so much. It's pretty emotional," he said as tears rolled down his face.
"Reminders of good things and bad things, reminders of those who can't be here."
This fire will ceremonially burn all the tears cried at TRC events. All the tissues used for tears at this national event are collected in paper bags and brought to this fire where they will be burned. People are also invited to bring tobacco or use the tobacco provided and put it into this fire.
"(The fire) carries the thoughts and prayers from the tobacco and it carries the tears from the tissue that's kept at each of the sessions ... It carries those tears and those messages and those prayers to the spirit world," Arcand said.
A small black and white urn was also a special part of this ceremony. It carries ashes from the three other TRC sacred fires in Manitoba, Nova Scotia and Nunavut. Ashes will be collected from this fire at the end of the event and carried to the 2013 commission in Quebec City.
See related: Truth and Reconciliation Commission's event begins
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