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Region unveils Indigenous crosswalk in Thorold

The Indigenous crosswalk was designed by Alyssa General and represents the Indigenous stories of Niagara; 'It was important to create something that represented our people'

Yesterday afternoon a sizable crowd gathered to witness the unveiling of the region’s brand new Indigenous crosswalk situated on the corner of Sir Isaac Brock Way and Canada Games Way.

The crosswalk was designed by Alyssa General, an artist and educator who is Mohawk Nation Turtle Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

She gave a heartfelt speech at the unveiling ceremony explaining her design for the crosswalk.

“It was important to create something that represented our people and represented the stories and the history of this land,” she told the crowd. “Our language, our culture, our songs and dances, they’re all birth from the earth and our experience of it. I really wanted to acknowledge the language that is used to describe Niagara.”

General explained that she tried to recognize every part of the land with her design. The aqua colours in the design represent the unique beauty of the Niagara River and the terracotta motif represents the earth she comes from.

“In the middle I chose the sky dome because there are so many overlapping stories that we have about our creation, about coming from sky world,” General said. “I wanted this piece to be an acknowledgement of all those things that help sustain us but also to give people the opportunity to see it and to understand it.”

Also present at the unveiling ceremony was Robyn Bourgeois who is the Acting Vice-Provost of Indigenous Engagement at Brock University.

“I remember coming up in the summer after the Pride crosswalk was installed,” Bourgeois told the crowd. “My trans child had a moment of pure joy in this public recognition of their identity and their belonging and their inclusion. This crosswalk is going to do the same.”

Several local politicians, such as Regional Chair Jim Bradley and Mayor Terry Ugulini, were also in attendance at the event.

“I’m excited because the crosswalk, although it is a regional initiative, is located in the City of Thorold,” Mayor Ugulini said in a speech. “This Indigenous crosswalk honours the Indigenous people who first walked the land, continue to reside here, and uphold the responsibility to care for these lands. It provides a beautiful visual representation of Indigenous culture and history.”

On Monday, September 26, Thorold City Hall will hold a flag raising ceremony to honour Truth and Reconciliation Day which is observed later that week on September 30.

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About the Author: Bernard Lansbergen

Bernard was born and raised in Belgium but moved to Canada in 2012 and has lived in Niagara since 2020. Bernard loves telling people’s stories and wants to get to know those that make Thorold into the great place it is
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