National day for Truth and Reconciliation
September 30, 2023
What an emotionally beautiful ceremony to commemorate the naming of the ‘RECONCILIATION BRIDGE- Mitho Wechewitowin Asokun’.
Our job as a council was easy. We got to support Elder Tom Roberts’s vision. From the moment he brought it to our table, it was a no brainer. I am so proud of our Tri-Community leadership for working together, to see this initiative come to life. But most of all, I am so proud of, and honoured to know Elder Tom Roberts. Thank you for your trust and guidance.
The bridge on Highway 2 that connects the Village of Air Ronge, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and the Town of La Ronge will now be known as Reconciliation Bridge. A new sign was unveiled at a ceremony on September 30, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
"Reconciliation Bridge stands as a timeless symbol for both our citizens and travelers in the La Ronge area, representing the ongoing journey of reconciliation that unites us," Athabasca MLA Jim Lemaigre said on behalf of Highways Minister Lori Carr. "Collectively we must remain vigilant in acknowledging the impact of residential schools, while paying tribute to survivors and honouring the memory of those who never returned."
"While this is a small bridge, it is the lifeline to a vast portion of Northern Saskatchewan," Northern Village of Air Ronge Mayor Julie Baschuk and council said.
“It provides access to services, enables transport of necessities to Northern communities and supports the natural resources industries that we all rely on a symbolic level, a bridge is an example of the simplified spirit of Reconciliation, it facilitates bringing people together. We feel that naming the bridge will underscore why both the bridge itself and, on a grander scale, Reconciliation is vitally important to our collective paths forward."
"'Mitho Wechewitowin Asokun - Reconciliation Bridge' stands as a powerful and perpetual symbol for our community and for all who pass through the La Ronge area," Lac La Ronge Indian Band Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said. "It signifies the steadfast dedication of our three communities on the road to reconciliation that unifies us. Together, we must acknowledge the painful past of the residential schools, honour the survivors, and commemorate those who didn't make it back home. As we move forward, let this bridge serve as a beacon of hope, unity, and remembrance, embodying the spirit of togetherness essential for meaningful reconciliation as we step into the future."
"Reconciliation Bridge connects our communities and allows us to work collectively as a Tri-community," Town of La Ronge Mayor Joe Hordyski said. "The new name will serve as a constant reminder of the importance of our principles in decision-making as we move forward in a meaningful way."
Reconciliation Bridge will also stand as an example of economic reconciliation and community building. The bridge provides connection for the communities of Air Ronge, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and La Ronge along with a gateway to our northern communities.
In coming years, a second bridge will be added to the crossing, doubling the capacity to move people and goods through the area. New lighted pathways will be added so people can travel safely on foot and on bikes.
Expanding the capacity of this corridor will benefit commuters, tourists, and industry. The Reconciliation bridge is vital to serving the local communities and is a gateway to the north.
Photos; Daniel Despin