Looking ahead through art: Giniigaaniimenaaning stained glass window for the House of Commons
In November 2012, the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, unveiled a stained glass window commemorating the legacy of former Indian Residential Schools.
Métis artist Christi Belcourt’s original artwork, entitled Giniigaaniimenaaning (Looking Ahead) was transformed into stained glass and installed in Centre Block on Parliament Hill directly above the Members’ entrance. Its location reflects the significance of Canada’s June 2008 apology to residential school survivors.”We cannot forget that for over 100 years Aboriginal children were forcibly removed from their families to attend residential schools. The effects of the residential schools era are still felt deeply within our communities; however, our Peoples are healing and regaining our strength,” says Christi Belcourt. “This stained glass window is important as it commemorates a significant point in history when in 2008 the Prime Minister of Canada apologized to the Aboriginal Peoples, and it will forever serve as a reminder to all of Canada and future generations.”The window was made possible through the support of the Honourable Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons.
For the artist’s full story of her design, which has layers upon layers of meaning, have a look at this booklet, which can be copied freely.
Canada’s commitment to reconciliation will now be visible to all visitors to Parliament Hill. Now we also need to live fully into that apology.
If you find yourself in Ottawa, take a free tour of the House of Commons, stop at the window. Remember- and reflect on what reconciliation could look like for us all.