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Vandalized teepee leads to open invite from the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation

In August, the teepee that sits outside the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg was vandalized, parts of the teepee were slashed, and a few poles were taken down. In response to the incident, the Centre invited people to visit the collection, and the scars left on the teepee. 
The teepee at the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation was put back up, after being vandalized. (CBC/Stephanie Cram)

In August, the teepee that sits outside the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation in Winnipeg was vandalized —parts of the teepee were slashed, and a few poles were taken down. In response to the incident, the Centre invited people to visit the collection, and see the scars left on the teepee.  

"It actually really affected some of the student population, some of the staff here quite profoundly, I think it was very discouraging and even frightening for some," said Ry Moran, director of the NCTR. 

"We had a brief chat and said, let's turn this into yet another educational opportunity, let's make sure that we turn this around and we show our resilience." 

The slashes were stitched up with red thread, and the teepee was put back up this week. 
One of the many slashes made to the teepee at the NCTR, which were purposely stitched with red thread to resemble scars. (CBC/Stephanie Cram)

"[The] bright red thread almost resembles stitches, to show that the current reality for Indigenous people is still one where we have to deal with racism and oppression and violence," said Moran. 

The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation is the archive of all the material collected during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this building there are 7,000 statements of residential school survivors, half a million documents, and a list of 4,000 students who died in the schools. 

Visitors to the Centre will not only get to see the teepee, tucked away behind the office, but they can also see artifacts gathered during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

One item Moran highlighted is the bentwood box, carved by artist Luke Martson. The box travelled with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission Commissioner, Chief Warren Littlechild, looks on from behind a First Nation's bentwood box during a commission forum in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday March 3, 2011. (Darryl Dick/CP)
 

"On the front of it, it depicts the story of his grandmother's experience in residential school where she was thrown down the stairs by nuns … and had her fingers severely broken, and they never healed right," said Moran. 

"That story speaks to so many of the stories [from residential schools] … we're breaking the silence inside of the Indigenous community on so much of the mistreatment that has happened." 

Tiles painted by students from Project of Heart line the walls of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. (CBC/Stephanie Cram)

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