National Healing Forest proposal gets unanimous approval

Perth CoW meeting
Perth’s Committee of the Whole meeting was attended April 10 by members of the committee erecting the National Healing Forest memorial and plaque adjacent to the Wendy Laut Garden and Pathway. Photo credit: Sally Smith.
Posted on: April 11, 2018

Sally Smith

The National Healing Forest recommendation returned to Committee of the Whole Tuesday for a final consideration and agreement before it goes to council April 24.

It initially came to Committee of the Whole a little over a month ago where there was some disputation from Andrew MacDonald that the plaque for the National Healing Forest should contain a male perspective i.e. missing and murdered boys.

The idea of planting a forest of 6,000 trees for children of residential schools, plus 1,200 more trees for missing and murdered indigenous women, was first contemplated in 2015 by Patricia Stirbys, indigenous lawyer, and Peter Croal, development advisor. In 2017 the two presented the concept in Perth, with the caveat that the Forest is a community project to be developed locally. The Lanark County Neighbours in Truth and Reconciliation Committee adopted the idea and formed a Healing Forest Committee; members have been working on the project since then.

There is a Healing Forest in Edmonton and one being developed in Winnipeg.

Perth’s memorial will contain a large rock and a display board surrounded by native healing plants. Shannon Baillon, Director of Community Services, says the site layout is “doable and fitting” and the project has “evolved into whatever the committee will make it.”

Mayor Fenik added he has “faith in the folks bringing the project forward,” and that it is a “fitting memorial.”

The recommendation was given unanimous approval.