Official acknowledgment of the new Every Child Matters crosswalks
Today, the Kwanlin Dün First Nation, Ta’an Kwäch’än Council, Council of Yukon First Nations (CYFN), and the City of Whitehorse formally acknowledged the City’s new Every Child Matters crosswalks.
The new crosswalks at the intersection of Black and Front streets, directly in front of the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, proclaim “Every Child Matters” in English and Southern Tutchone. They also depict handprints and three white eagle feathers.
The crosswalks were designed by Teagyn Vallevand. Vallevand says each feather represents a life state: One is for children and future generations; one is for grandparents and elders, who give the gift of knowledge; and the third is for adults, who protect and take care of us in the present. Together, they represent community and healing.
These permanent crosswalks mark a commitment by the City of Whitehorse to acknowledge the legacy of residential schools and move forward with our First Nations partners on our journey towards reconciliation.
“CYFN is pleased to see the installation of this crosswalk come to fruition as we celebrate this milestone alongside the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council and Kwanlin Dün First Nation. We acknowledge the City of Whitehorse for supporting our request to install this crosswalk. Initiatives like this represent a public commemoration of the history and ongoing impacts of residential schools and is a vital component of the reconciliation process.“
CYFN Grand Chief Peter Johnston
“Every Child Matters—We say this and we print it on T-shirts and pins and crosswalks and flags because in our very recent history every child did not matter. Shä̀w níthän to our partners and to the City of Whitehorse for making this crosswalk come to life. It’s one more way we can bring these messages to the forefront. Let this be another step forward on our shared path to reconciliation. Together, we are strong.” Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill
“Today’s investment is a big one. These crosswalks recognize that while there is a history of grief and torment for the thousands of children that never returned home from residential school, Every Child will continue to be recognized for many years to come. And to me, as a mother, and as a young First Nation leader, this is a very promising sign that we are on the right track towards the reconciliation we all long for.” Ta’an Kwäch’än Council Chief Amanda Leas
“Reconciliation is something we need to pursue every day. This crosswalk is an example of a project that came together through true collaboration. The legacy of residential schools has shaped our community in so many ways but this collaborative project shows we are united to ensure that legacy is never repeated. ” Mayor of Whitehorse Laura Cabott