Content written by Saskatoon Transit and shared with permission.
Saskatoon Transit and students from the E.D. Feehan Catholic High School Newcomer Youth Engagement Program (NYEP) and the miyo mâcihowin program met with Métis Elder Nora Cummings, First Nations Elder Harry Lafond, and Newcomer Community Leader, Senos Timon to create and design a bus shelter on the north side of Rusholme Road, west of Avenue M by their school.
“There are many ways we can respond as a city to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “This project built a partnership between Saskatoon Transit, E.D. Feehan students and staff, and Indigenous elders and newcomer community leaders in creating this beautiful new bus shelter for the Westmount Neighbourhood. Thank you to everyone involved for the extra effort you put in through COVID to get the project done, congratulations!”
Following the success of the collaborations with students at Aden Bowman Collegiate on a Métis inspired bus shelter, and students at Nutana Collegiate on a First Nations inspired shelter, Saskatoon Transit wanted to work on another Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action, #93. This call-to-action calls to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal people of Canada.
The students from the NYEP and miyo mâcihowin program reflected on Elder Cummings and Lafond’s teachings with inspiration from Newcomer Community Leader Senos Timon to create this piece of art. One of the themes that continued to pop up was the idea that we are all different and should be proud of that, and remember who we are and reach out to one another.
“This shelter is yet another example of building bridges of cross-cultural awareness,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. “It is and will remain a physical reminder of the commitment the City has made on answering the Calls to Action.”
The student’s artwork, inspired by First Nations and Metis Elders and Newcomer Community Leader were put together by Muveddet Al-Katib, an immigrant artist working with the NYEP as an art educator and was then laser cut by Metal Shapes Manufacturing.
“I want to congratulate these young people on this project. It is a legacy they will leave not only for themselves, but for generations to come.” Cummings says. “This project helped to unify our youth, showed them how to work together. They did a wonderful job and will look back on this experience and remember the friendships made working together.”
“The Creator gives to each of us the creative spirit to create beauty through the lens of our cultures,” Lafond says. “The bus stop at E.D. Feehan Catholic High School captures the spirit of many cultures to show the growing diversity of our beautiful city. I hope this helps us understand the importance of these projects to our identity as a community of many peoples.”
“Arts bring people together; it inspires and unifies our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity, and it gives hope and reminds us that we are not alone,” says Senos Timon. “This project is a perfect example of how arts can be a vehicle to build bridges.”
“Students really benefited from meeting with and talking to the elders,” says Mike Stone, NYEP teacher. “It reinforced for students the value of listening to and learning from the stories of those that came before us. The process also helped illustrate to the students that even across differing cultures, there are more similarities than differences that exist between us.”
The idea behind Saskatoon Transit’s Bus Shelter Art Project is to comply with the Truth and Reconciliation 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.