Traditional Indigenous teachings inspire design of new Transit shelter
Saskatoon Transit and students from Nutana Collegiate worked together with Elder Harry Lafond to create the design of a new bus shelter at 12th Street and Broadway Avenue.
“This new artwork is a beautiful addition to the Broadway district that helps tell the history of this land and add to the vibrancy of this important street,” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “Thank you to the students at Nutana Collegiate and Elder Harry Lafond for the work you have put into this project. It will be enjoyed for years to come.”
Following the success of the collaboration with students at Aden Bowman Collegiate on a Métis inspired bus shelter, Saskatoon Transit engaged ten students, this time from the Nutana Industry and Career Education program. The students reflected on Elder Lafond’s teachings and the following words emerged to represent their story:
Saskatoon Transit’s Bus Shelter Art Project complies with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #79: calling upon the government, Aboriginal organizations and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration, including integrating Indigenous history, heritage values and memory practices into Canada’s history.
“This shelter is yet another example of moving toward a more inclusive, responsive and welcoming transit system,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. “It is a physical reminder and proof of the commitment the City has made on answering the Calls to Action.”
The artwork was inspired by Elder Harry Lafond’s traditional teachings of Indigenous history and values which inspired the student’s designs. They were then laser cut by Metal Shapes Manufacturing.
“We are of the land, the Creator put us on the land so that we would have life, in return we are to be humble stewards of this land so our grandchildren will have life,” Lafond says.
“This project offered a unique way for students to represent ideas of Truth and Reconciliation and express themselves as young people,” says Nicole Stevens, Industry and Career Education teacher at Nutana Collegiate. “The students used the seasons, earth, fire, water, the medicine wheel, and tipi as symbols of their story. We are proud of the finished product and feel it not only represents the story of our students, but also reflects Nutana Collegiate and Saskatoon Public Schools’ commitment to Truth and Reconciliation. As we look forward to National Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we hope this bus shelter brings a positive sense of community to all who see and use it.”