NL Gazette

Reconciliation in sharp emphasis during royal couple’s 1st Canadian stop

Nfld and Labrador

Key takeaways: 

  • ‘They didn’t do it to our citizens, and they are ready to come and negotiate,’ says an Indigenous elder.
  • Lt.-Gov. Judy Foote stands aside to the Duchess of Cornwall and the Prince of Wales during a ceremony in the Heart Garden at Government House.

When Ellen Ford’s turn to say hi to Prince Charles, she just wanted to thank you.

The Inuk elder, initially from Nain on Labrador’s north coast, was a special visitor Tuesday at the Heart Garden, the second visit on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s brief visit to St. John’s.

The permanent fixture on the feet of Government House is committed to sufferers and survivors of residential schools. The cement heart, covered by beds of flowers, has special significance for Ford, who herself is a residential school survivor.

“I think this was the first time I saw an occasion like this, to have the prince and duchess be here to see the extent of the meaning of the residential schools and what occurred to a lot of the kids,” Ford said.

Read more: Gasoline jumps nearly 11 cents, passing $2.25 per liter across most N.L.

When Ellen Ford’s turn to say hi to Prince Charles, she just wanted to thank you

“I think it’s right to have it out there. It was very strengthening as well.”

The royal couple’s Canadian tour has stressed reconciliation with Indigenous people. It has already attracted the wrath of several residential school survivors and Indigenous groups across Canada who say the royals should do more to correct the wrongs of colonialism and residential schools. 

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon touched on the essence of the couple’s role in reconciliation during her opening statements at Confederation Building, a short time after the couple landed in Canada’s easternmost region.

“I urge you to speak to Indigenous peoples, hear their stories, successes, and answers, and enable you to learn the truth of our history, the good and the bad,” Simon said.

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